Researchers at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) are using leftover apple pulp to make useful products such as soft drinks and artificial leather. The three researchers found a business partner and are continuing their research in the start-ups Bioflavours and Beyond Leather. This is reported by the DTU in a press release

Apple pulp

In the process, they use the pulp left over from making apple juice. Making 10 liters of apple juice leaves 4 kilograms of apple pulp. Claus Heiner Bang-Bertelsen, researcher at DTU-Food, says we need to make our food system more circular. “Side streams, such as apple pulp, can serve as ingredients for new products and certainly do not have to end up as biogas”, Bang-Bertelsen said. 

Timothy Hobley, professor at DTU-Food, says researchers can do well in helping solve global waste problems. “By thinking outside the old box, we can get more value and more ingredients out of the raw materials of this world”, Hobley said. 


Bioflavours primarily uses fermentation techniques. This involves placing the apple pulp in a tank with specific bacteria. By keeping the temperature stable, the bacteria can break down the sugar from the pulp through fermentation. This process takes several days. 

In this fermentation process, the bacteria form different flavors and aromas. This aromatic liquid is pressed out of the pulp by Bioflavours researchers. A soft drink can then be made from this liquid, which is between apple juice and apple cider in terms of taste. It can also be made into a syrup for cooking. 

The drink may be healthy, but is it tasty? We did have to experiment with the taste. By adding small amounts of mint and ginger, the flavor profile was adjusted and the drink, at least among the small group of test subjects, fell into taste. 

Beyond Leather

What remains after the fermentation process used to make the soft drink is pulp without sugar. Since this pulp consists almost exclusively of fiber, it is a suitable raw material for making artificial leather. Thus, the waste from Bioflavours becomes the raw material of the artificial leather made by Beyond Leather. The very fermentation process Bioflavours applies to the pulp ensures that Beyond Leather has a better raw material. 

Xianrong Shao, research and development manager at Beyond Leather, says many different options were tried to make artificial leather. Waste from apples proved to be the best option in this regard. “If we dare to see waste as raw material, you can see that there is a lot of value and potential in it”, Shao said.

© Image by Beyond Leather

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