IF THERE is one animal product that vegans mourn the lack of above all else, it is eggs.

Aside from their taste, and high-protein nutritional excellence, eggs are unsurpassed as a binding and emulsifying agent in the preparation of a variety of popular foods, and without them, people sticking to a non-animal diet can find their options limited.

However, a team of scientists from Nanyang Technological University, in Singapore, now claims to have developed a plant-based emulsifier that is not only rich in protein and antioxidants, but has the necessary properties to replace eggs or dairy in staple foods such as mayonnaise, salad dressings, and whipped cream, helping stabilise a combination of two liquids that do not mix easily, such as oil and water.

The NTU-made emulsifier is made by fermenting brewers’ spent grain, a by-product of the beer-making industry. Compared to store brand mayonnaise, the team claimed that its mayonnaise, produced with the plant-based emulsifier, tasted the same, but contained more protein, and higher amounts of certain essential amino acids. The fat and calorie contents were similar compared to typical store brand mayonnaise, although the NTU-made mayonnaise contained more nutrients and antioxidants.

Due to the emulsifier’s properties, the team also hopes to explore pharmaceutical and cosmetic uses for it in products such as topical creams, lipsticks, and more.