"Yellow grease" isn't waste
Vishal Shah and colleagues estimate US restaurants
generate about 25 billion gallons (94.6 billion litres) of waste cooking oil
each week. The waste oil, marketed as "yellow grease", long has been used in
animal feed, with researchers exploring new applications such as biodiesel fuel.
The researchers from Dowling College
in Oakdale, NY (US), say it is possible to transform waste cooking oil into
inexpensive raw material for producing unusual biosurfactants with uses ranging
from therapeutic cosmetics that regenerate damaged skin, to controlling algae
blooms in lakes and ponds.
"We have successfully demonstrated the use of restaurant waste oil as a
potential low-cost lipid feedstock for sophorolipid production," the researchers
have a range of applications, including
naturally derived ingredients in therapeutic cosmetics; germicidal solutions for
washing fruits and vegetables; and anti-algal agents for environmental cleanups,
the report notes.
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