Zero Waste Tofu Production
Two main environmental issues caused by tofu production are its waste and wastewater and the strong smell of its whey. Most tofu producing industries dispose of the waste to the drainage channel in the neighborhood so as to make the surrounding community protests against it. Up to now, tofu production still includes some ingredients which have harmful effects on people. Vinegar is one of the ingredients that can cause gastric ulcer because of its acidity. Another ingredient, a preservative, is often included in the production.
Addressing these issues, a group of students from the History Study Program of the Faculty of Social Sciences, YSU sought methods to produce environmentally friendly tofu. They are Afif Luthfi, Darmia Kurniasih, dan Dewi Adawiyah. They used nigarin (an extract of seawater) to substitute vinegar. Nigarin has more than 80 minerals including magnesium, kalium, iodine, selenium and cesium. These minerals can help produce tofu with higher level of vitamin B-12 and isoflavone than other typical tofu available in the market.
“Other than producing high mineral tofu, nigarin also can help produce ready to drink water, i.e. the wastewater,” Afif Luthfi explained. “The water has neutral pH so that it can be directly consumed.”
Their tofu is called “tahu nusantara” (tofu of the archipelago). Darmia Kurniasih added that to reduce pollution, they produce zero waste tofu. “We make use of the tofu, its waste and wastewater to produce healthy and affordable food.”
Currently, tofu waste is not widely used, whereas it contains 414 calories, 26.6 grams of protein, 8.3 grams of fat, 41.3 grams of carbohidrate, 19 mg of calcium, 29 mg of phosphor, 4.0 mg of ferrum, 0.2 mg of vitamin B and 9 grams of water. From the data, carbohidrate, protein and fiber are the biggest substances.
Not only the above-mentioned substances, the tofu waste also contains blakeslea trispora that can convert soybean oil into betacaroten. In the human body, betacaroten can convert pro-vitamin A into vitamin A. It also fights again free radicals, effects of smoking and air pollution, prevents human’s body from cancer and helps increase its immunity system. The waste also contains antioxidant that prevents skin cancer, diabetes mellitus, kidney failure, cardiovascular diseases, cataract and aging.
Due to its high substance of protein, we can also make other kinds of food. One of them is nugget. The students chose nugget because there are few people only who currently produce it and it is still considered a kind of expensive food.
By producing nugget, it is hoped that people can afford it. Dewi Adawiyah also said that they made use of the wastewater. “Due to its neutral pH, it is safe to directly consume. In the production we added ginger, lemon grass, palm sugar and screwpine to make it more refreshing and warm the body,” she said.