Collaboration across specialist fields in Nofima, provides promising results for better taste of protein powder. Photo: Joe Urrutia © Nofima

Project Year 2019

Bacteria for better taste

 Food safety and quality    Raw materials and process optimisation  

Challenges with unpleasant odours and flavours associated with fish and whey protein powders can soon be solved through fermentation.

Spines, heads and other residual raw material from cod, salmon and cheese production have gone from being waste or animal feed, to forming the basis for new products.

Using hydrolysis, an advanced chemical process, biological “scissors” – enzymes – are added to “cut” the proteins into pieces. When protein is broken down in this way, smaller protein fractions called peptides are formed. This can result in valuable products such as marine oils and protein powders.

“But to be honest, it doesn’t always smell and taste that good”, says Nofirma researcher Diana Lindberg.


Researchers have long been working hard to try to remove the bitter flavour, so that the nutritious protein powder can become more usable and attractive.

A collaboration between hydrolysis expert Lindberg and fermentation expert Lars Axelsson may prove to be very valuable.

Lactic acid bacteria are added to the hydrolysates. The bacteria start a fermentation process which can create a change in flavour. In most cases, we have to add sugar to make the bacteria grow.

Master’s student Magnus Rein at NMBU carried out the experiments. 42 strains of lactic acid bacteria were used in conjunction with several types of hydrolysate. The results show that there was a big difference in the growth rates of the different lactic acid bacteria.

“The results are very promising, especially for some of the hydrolysates with the most challenging flavours”, says Diana Lindberg.

Good results – and ten new questions

Good results can lead to more questions than those answered during the study.

“Until now, we have only scratched the surface of something that may prove to have a great influence on the value creation of products from residual raw material. We have had some good results, but have got ten new questions.

We are involved in very exciting things and have good reasons to continue our research”, says Diana Lindberg.

Contact person
Portrettbilde av Diana Lindberg
Diana Lindberg

Tlf: +47 64 97 02 07

Contact person
Portrettbilde av Lars Axelsson
Lars Axelsson

Senior Scientist
Tlf: +47 64 97 02 88

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