Microbial fermentation of industrial rice-starch byproduct as valuable source of peptide fractions with health-related activity
The rice-starch processing industry produces large amounts of a protein-rich byproducts during the conversion of broken rice to powder and crystal starch. Given the poor protein solubility, this material is currently discarded or used as animal feed. To fully exploit rice's nutritional properties and reduce this waste, a biotechnological approach was adopted, inducing fermentation with selected microorganisms capable of converting the substrate into peptide fractions with health-related bioactivity. Lactic acid bacteria were preferred to other microorganisms for their safety, efficient proteolytic system, and adaptability to different environments. Peptide fractions with different molecular weight ranges were recovered from the fermented substrate by means of cross-flow membrane filtration. The fractions displayed in vitro antioxidant, antihypertensive, and anti-tyrosinase activities as well as cell-based anti-inflammatory and anti-aging effects. In the future, the peptide fractions isolated from this rice byproduct could be directly exploited as health-promoting functional foods, dietary supplements, and pharmaceutical preparations. The suggested biotechnological process harnessing microbial bioconversion may represent a potential solution for many different protein-containing substrates currently treated as byproducts (or worse, waste) by the food industry.