Powdered eggs! - Another feat by CSIR scientists

Powdered Eggs  This institute has discovered a way of pulverising the egg we eat.

Sat, 1 Sep 2018 Source: Enimil Ashon

One of the values of science is that it deals with ignorance, making our knowledge of yesterday outdated and valueless by the new insights of today.

There are “civilisations” that were once great and powerful. With time, they have become fossils because they did not take advantage of what technology was offering.

It is against this backdrop that I take pride and pleasure in announcing a “small” technological breakthrough achieved by the Animal Research Institute of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

This institute has discovered a way of pulverising the egg we eat.

Instead of shell-egg that is broken and either fried or boiled, Ghanaians will, in the very near future, buy powdered eggs in either sachet, cans or some other forms of packaging.

Of course, the technology has existed elsewhere for some time now, so this innovation may sound like re-engineering, but as the Director of the institute, Professor Emmanuel Kwadwo Adu, pointed out in a phone chat this week, “in most laboratories and factories around the globe, what is taking place is re-engineering”.

To see how man has benefited from re-engineering, I Googled to find out the shape of the first car - the first steam-powered automobile by Nicolas-Joseph Cugnot (1769) through François Isaac de Rivaz’s four-stroke petrol internal combustion engine, Karl Benz (1885) and the Ford Model T (1913) to the Mercedes Benz, Japanese Toyota and Korean KIA of today.

This is where scientists at Ghana’s Animal Research Institute are coming from: making a technology started by an earlier generation elsewhere available to us in this nation today.

With a hydrator purchased by the director from his own pocket during one of his travels, they sat down to think their way through.

I won’t go into detail about what goes on in their laboratories; suffice it to say that the shell-egg is broken, pasteurised, de-sugared and dried by a process of either solar or spray-drying.

The result is powdered egg.

From there, they proceed to the next stage. They have been able to separate the albumen from the yolk. What Ghanaians will soon find on the shelves of our shopping malls is powdered egg in three forms: (i) Powdered Yolk (ii) Powdered albumen and (iii) Powdered whole egg.

Each of them will come with the relevant instructions for use, indicating how many teaspoonfuls will be equivalent to one boiled or fried egg.

From their experiments so far, however, one sachet of powdered egg is equivalent to a crate of eggs.

Why am I excited about powdered egg?

First, farmers complain that 10 per cent of the eggs they produce go to waste either in the process of transportation or they go bad with time. Second, the powdered egg eliminates the problem of storage: even one crate of eggs occupies space and has weight.

Third, while shell-egg will not last beyond one month, powdered egg will last beyond six months!

For the economy as a whole, however, the value of the powdered egg is in its industrial application. Eggs are used in the manufacture of custard and mayonnaise, ice cream and chocolates. In the confectionary industry, eggs are used in the manufacture of beverage such as Milo and Ovaltine.

The cosmetics industry uses eggs for hair and skin-care products.

Medicinally, since the albumen has anti-ageing and anti-bacterial properties, eggs have proven potent in the treatment of eczema. The adhesive properties in the albumen (white of the egg) come of use in suturing, especially during eye surgeries.

I am not done

Another by-product of the Ghanaian research is the scientist’s ability to isolate and extract egg oil, a product known as a carrier oil in many creams, ointments and lotions. Egg oil acts as a moisturiser, an anti-oxidant, a skin conditioner and is also anti-bacterial.

For each of these uses by industry, eggs need to be produced in large quantities, but for how long can we continue to transport shell-eggs in their bulk and perishable nature? The answer is in powdered egg.

The change is happening in the laboratories of the Animal Research Institute, a revolution began by Prof. Adu, with Mr Agyei Ansong, a Principal Technologist, by his side.

Talking about the availability of local technologies and as the nation contemplates building more schools for the Free Senior High School (SHS) programme, I propose a consideration for Pozolana cement, an invention by the Building and Road Research Institute of CSIR. Pozolana is a highly active cementitious material from bauxite waste (which is available in Ghana in great abundance).

It is 30 per cent cheaper than ordinary Portland cement. Houses built with Pozolana cement have no cracks.

Ordinary Portland cement is easily attacked by acids, sulphates and chlorides. The addition of Pozolona makes the final product inert, i.e. unreactive to acids and salts.

To see Pozolana in action, ask officials of the Consair Project at Aboadze and officials of Devtraco.

Talk about price. In Kumasi, for example, while a 50 kilo bag of Portland cement is going for between GH¢33.00 and GH¢35.00 in 2018, the same quantity and weight of Pozolana cement is going for GH¢17.00 (Note: Seventeen Cedis!)

Ayekoo, CSIR @ 60

Columnist: Enimil Ashon