World’s First Alcoholic Beverage made from Tofu Whey

A unique zero-waste approach of converting by-product of tofu making into alcoholic drink rich in isoflavones.

World’s First Alcoholic Beverage made from Tofu Whey
Associate Professor Liu Shao Quan (right) and PhD student Mr Chua Jian Yong (left), both from the Food Science & Technology Programme under the NUS Faculty of Science, successfully turned tofu whey into a tasty alcoholic beverage which they named Sachi.

Tofu Whey, a liquid that is generated during the production of tofu, a food cultivated by coagulating soy milk. Oftently, this liquid is discarded by considering it as waste. But now, NUS scientists have turned it into a tasty alcoholic beverage which they dubbed Sachi.

Tofu, also known as bean curd, is a popular food made from soybeans. A standout among the most well-known techniques for delivering tofu is by souring newly bubbled soya drain, cooling it, and squeezing it into a strong square. Amid the squeezing procedure to evacuate abundance water, tofu whey is produced.

But when it is discarded, it generates environmental pollution as the protein and soluble sugars in the whey could contribute to oxygen depletion in the waterways.

Ph.D. student Mr. Chua Jian Yong said, “The traditional way of manufacturing tofu produces a large amount of whey, which contains high levels of calcium and unique soya nutrients such as isoflavones and prebiotics. Hence, disposing of tofu whey is wasteful. Very little research has been done to transform tofu whey into edible food and beverage products.”

“I had previously worked on alcohol fermentation during my undergraduate studies in NUS, so I decided to take up the challenge of producing an alcoholic beverage using the whey. The drink turned out to be tasty, which is a pleasant surprise.”

The health benefits associated with soy products along with changing preferences towards vegetarian diets have fueled the growth of tofu production. Its Alcoholic fermentation can serve as an alternative method to convert tofu whey into food products that can be consumed directly.

Associate Professor Liu Shao Quan said, “Our innovative fermentation technique also enriches the drink with isoflavones, which are antioxidants that have many health benefits. In addition, it serves as a zero-waste solution to the serious issue of tofu whey disposal.”

Scientists took almost three months to come up with a unique recipe to make an alcoholic beverage from tofu whey. They initially made new soya drain from soybeans, and after that utilized the soya drain to make tofu. Throughout making tofu, they gathered the whey. Sugar, corrosive and yeast were added to the tofu whey, and the mixture was aged to create the mixed refreshment.

Scientists then refined this composition via biotransformation methods ad converted its strong beany odor into a fruity, sweet flavor.

After fermentation, the bound isoflavones that were available in the tofu whey were changed into free isoflavones that can be assimilated all the more effectively by the human body. The outcome is a reviving refreshment that is a touch sweet, with fruity and floral notes, and has a liquor substance of around 7 to 8 for each penny.