Company Develops Microbeads From Olive Pomace

A British company's technology has attracted interest from farmers and producers looking for more value from fruit and vegetable waste.

A British based company has replaced ocean destroying plastic microbeads with milled olive stones in an environmentally friendly hand wash made from ground olive kernels.

Zembra co-founder Steve Taylor said, “We manufacture olive-based microbeads to order, primarily for the cosmetics industry, and we have an agreement with a Norwegian partner to take these into the cosmetics market. We have seen increased interest as the removal of plastic-based beads gathers pace.”

Zembra was founded by Taylor, a biochemist, and Fabienne Pessayre, owner of a waste treatment company. “It was through a conversation with Fabienne Pessayre, owner of Hawthorn Technical Services and the other founder of Zembra, that we saw some opportunities using our joint network of contacts and technology in repurposing food waste,” Taylor noted.

Zembra’s technology and expertise are provided by a sister company Celbius, where Taylor developed ultrasound technology for use in the bioprocessing industries. Celbius’ technique utilizes ultrasound technology similar to that used in medical diagnostics, although a lower frequency KHz ultrasound is used. Taylor’s technology enables the use of water and other harmless liquids to replace toxic solvents.

Taylor told Olive Oil Times, “When this type of ultrasound is passed through a liquid the sound energy causes extreme turbulence in the liquid, and this can be put to good use. For example, it may be used to break plant material down to unlock desirable products such as flavors and fragrances, making them much easier to extract. In a typical extraction process, we will take slurry of the plant material and apply ultrasound to it, remove the plant material by filtering then recover the product from the liquor.” More