Faculty of Natural Sciences Faculty of Natural Sciences News and events
Baumann-Gonser Foundation Research Award for Jon Groß-Weege: Water Kefir from Apple Pomace

Baumann-Gonser Foundation Research Award for Jon Groß-Weege: Water Kefir from Apple Pomace

Apple, substrate and the finished kefir - the ingredients and stages of the project

When apples are processed into apple juice, around 20% of the plant material — apple pomace — is used as animal feed. This amounts to around 200,000 tonnes per year in German apple juice production alone, and Jon Groß-Weege has now found a simple and quick way to process this pomace into a tasty and healthy drink as part of his bachelor's thesis at the Institute of Food Science and Human Nutrition. He is a research assistant at the Molecular Food Chemistry and Food Development section, leaded by Prof. Dr. Tuba Esatbeyoglu.

Enzymatic degradation of apple pomace to obtain a new fermentation substrate for water kefir production

By adding enzymes, a healthy drink is obtained from the former waste material with water kefir grains. These consist of complex polysaccharide chains that have a very stable structure and provide a habitat for a whole range of microorganisms. After adding water to the water kefir tubers, a comparatively short fermentation period of 24 hours and then skimming off the kefir tubers, the finished kefir is ready to drink. The microorganisms multiply in the water and provide the probiotic properties, resulting in a healthy drink that is low in sugar and calories, yet tasty and sustainably produced.

High practical relevance and application potential in the beverage industry

Not only is the general focus on the utilisation of waste very contemporary, but the population's health awareness is also developing in an increasingly comprehensive direction and fermented products are currently experiencing an upswing. Beverage manufacturers are also likely to be interested in the process. Jon Groß-Weege is already pursuing research into other areas of application, such as the production of mate. The current work in the area of beverage development is being funded by the Leibniz University's Study Quality Funding Commission ("Studentischer Topf") as part of the "Stud.IB" project.

The Baumann-Gonser Foundation (BGS) is honouring him for his innovative achievement by awarding him second place in the BGS Research Promotion Prize, which is endowed with €1000.
The BGS Research Promotion Prize has been awarded annually to students and young researchers since 2011: It honours outstanding or innovative work on fruit and vegetable juices with a focus on nutrition and health, quality and analysis, technology and processes as well as sustainability and the environment.
The Baumann-Gonser Foundation was founded in 1956. Its aim is to promote teaching and targeted scientific research in the field of non-fermented fruit processing.

Congratulations on this achievement and this award!