In basic terms starch is a stored source of energy in many agricultural raw materials such as potato, tapioca or maize. Starch is formed through the simple biological process of photosynthesis. Being renewable and biodegradable, starch becomes a great substitution of many chemicals such as plastic or glues. This carbohydrate can be used in hundreds of ways you would never think of. For example, thousands of years ago, starch was used by Egyptians to glue strips of papyrus together which were used as paper. In addition, many of its uses include thickening and stabilising in food processing for products such as pasta, soups or custards. It is important to acknowledge that starch extraction may vary depending on the raw material. SiccaDania is able to supply process technology for the extraction of starch from multiple plants such as potato, tapioca or rice.
The amount of starch extracted from potatoes is relatively low compared to the total starch produced from all raw materials. To make potato starch as efficient as possible, generally, a special type of potato is cultivated for industrial use only. This potato has an unpleasant taste due to the high amount of starch present and is cultivated and processed in Europe during the ‘’starch campaign period’’ from August to April.
Potato starch production is a well-defined process starting with the delivery, sorting, washing and grinding of potatoes. Regardless of the route chosen to extract potato starch, these steps are usually present. For further processing, however, the separation of the two solids, starch and fibre, from the potato juice is necessary. SiccaDania supplies core equipment for this process, namely clean-flow washers, raspers, sampling analysis equipment, and a special washing pump. In addition, SiccaDania cooperates with other technology providers and offers complete solutions (turnkey projects) regarding project management & integration.
During the starch extraction process, the two solid elements, starch and fibre, are separated from the potato juice. The potato juice mostly contains water mixed with soluble proteins, salts, sugars and amino acids. The potato protein has shown to be equally nutritious as the egg and soy protein, thus of high interest for companies. It is usually recovered from the potato juice leaving the starch plant. The protein is separated in a liquid process involving heat treatment, pH adjustment and separation. For industrial and feed applications, the separated wet protein fraction consisting of approximately 40% is dried in a gentle process with SiccaDania’s Zeta Dryers. We also provide other types of spray dryers for the extraction of potato proteins which can be then used for human consumption. Producing protein for human consumption is based on a novel process developed by SiccaDania’s partner, BiOptimate in collaboration with the University of Copenhagen.
Besides starch and protein extraction, SiccaDania offers a unique process for separation and drying of fibres from potatoes. Potato fibres are used as a food additive to improve texture and stability of the food, thus contributing to dietary enrichment, calorie or carbohydrate reduction. These fibres are processed to a high quality, high nutritional value product for human consumption. Around 90% of the fibre fraction can be used for human consumption, and the remaining 10% can be used for animal feed or bio-gas production. SiccaDania’s unique Zeta Dryer is the optimal solution for drying potato fibres.
Potato Fruit Juice Concentration
Following the protein separation from a potato starch plant, large quantities of fruit juice need to be managed. The traditional way of managing this would be to distribute the liquid by spraying on fields as a fertiliser. There are several downsides to this approach. Costs are very high and large tanks or basins are required for storage outside of the distribution season. The effect of using fruit water as a fertiliser is often poor, and odour from liquid storage facilities is detrimental to any starch producer’s image. However, by concentrating the fruit water to above 40%, the concentrate can be stored in smaller covered facilities until the next distribution season. The concentrate now has a commercial value rather than being a cost factor, and the nutrition value as a fertiliser is much improved, in fact can become quite substantial. Most of the energy used to concentrate the fruit juice can be recovered and used in the starch plant, making this unit operation economically viable. SiccaDania designs and supplies evaporators with mechanical vapour recompression (MVR) for this application at production capacities exceeding 80 tons/hour, if required.
Tapioca starch is extracted from cassava roots, a raw material usually found in equatorial areas. The cassava plant can be identified from different names depending on the region it is cultivated. For example, ‘’yucca’’ in Central America or ‘’tapioca’’ in India and Malaysia. It is important to note that cassava roots need to reach the processing plant within 24 hours of harvest for a higher starch yield. Hence, many processing plants will use close by farms or form new ones to be able to maximise efficiency.
Tapioca starch processing is very similar to potato starch processing. SiccaDania supplies certain core equipment for this process such as clean-flow washers, raspers and sampling analysis equipment. Moreover, in a similar manner to our potato processing solutions, we are also able to present our customers with turnkey projects.