Extraction of Inulin From Dried Chicory Root
Small Business Information
U. S. Chicory, Inc.
PO Box 240, Scottsbluff, NE, 69363
AbstractNON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: Chicory is an excellent source of inulin, a fructose polymer with important nutrition and health characteristics. Currently, chicory is grown primarily in Europe. In 2001, U.S. Chicory constructed a drying facility in Scottsbluff, NE and processed 950 acres of chicory, the first commercial operation in North America. Although dried chicory is suitable for pet foods, purified inulin is necessary for human food. Current inulin extraction methods are expensive ($200 million facility) and require the entire crop be processed in 45-60 days. Preliminary UNL work suggests that inulin can be extracted from dried chicory. With the U.S. Chicory drying facility, extraction of inulin from dried chicory would expand the process to a 12-month operation, reducing capital inputs and positioning U.S. Chicory as a low cost producer of inulin. Definition of extraction parameters in the proposed research will help design an efficient inulin extraction facility. Our Phase II proposal will refine purification and preservation strategies and develop a pilot-scale inulin processing facility. Extracting inulin from dried chicory will extend the processing season and reduce the capital investment to construct and operate the factory. Because the drying factory is in operation and the market for dried chicory is strong, U.S. Chicory has some time to develop an inulin processing facility. The production of inulin will diversify U.S. Chicory's product line and provide a variety of marketing options.
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