Biotechnological potential of brewers spent grain and its recent applications
Review article, 2012

Purpose Brewers spent grain (BSG) is a by-product of the brewing process corresponding to around 85% of total by-products generated. The great number of publications over the last 5 years, on the biotechnological applications of BSG, represents the increased scientific interest on it. This critical, state of the art review aims at gathering and analysing the most recent scientific efforts on the biotechnological potential of Brewer's spent grain and on its evaluation as a feedstock for high added value products. Methods The assiduous bibliographic retrospection focused on the latest scientific reports. The consideration of all relevant scientific articles was thorough and critical. The classification of the scientific efforts was made not only according to the end-products but also according to the biotechnological approach adopted. Results BSG has been used in a wide range of biotechnological applications such as substrate for enzymes production, as a source for value-added products (antioxidants, monosaccharides, oligosaccharides, xylitol, arabitol, bioethanol, biogas or lactic acid) or for the production of functional proteins and lipids. Its applications as a carrier in various bioprocesses have also been reported. Conclusion The implementation of BSG's fractionation in industrial scale seems to be the next step in BSG's exploitation. A fractionation process which allows the exploitation of biomolecules belonging to different classes, produced from one feedstock (BSG) may be used as a pattern for the implementation of the biorefinery concept in industrial scale, as long as the methods adopted ensure the functionality of the potentially valuable components.

Agro-industrial residues

Brewers spent grain

Enzymatic processing

Microbial conversion

High value products


Charilaos Xiros

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Industrial biotechnology

P. Christakopoulos

National Technical University of Athens (NTUA)

Waste and Biomass Valorization

1877-2641 (ISSN) 1877-265X (eISSN)

Vol. 3 2 213-232

Subject Categories

Industrial Biotechnology



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