University of Saskatchewan researchers develop compound that may slow Alzheimer’s progress using waste from ethanol plants

January 24, 2019 |

In Canada, a University of Saskatchewan (USask) research team’s quest to extract protein from more than a billion liters of annually produced wastewater (called thin stillage) at Saskatchewan’s ethanol plants has yielded something far more valuable—a compound used in many countries to slow cognition loss in Alzheimer’s patients.

That compound is glyceryl phosphoryl choline (GPC) which is sold as a pharmaceutical drug (choline alfoscerate) for Alzheimer’s patients in Korea, Russia and some eastern European and South American countries, and as a cognition enhancer (nootropic) in North America.

GPC helps the body increase production of acetylcholine, the basic neurotransmitter that signals messages to cells and plays an important role in mental processes such as memory and cognition. GPC has also shown positive effects on athletic performance and recovery from heart attack and stroke.

The researchers have also discovered that stillage contains other commercially useful compounds, including 1,3-propanediol (1,3-PD) that is a non-toxic antifreeze and solvent, as well as a component of polymers used to make plastics and resins.

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Category: Research

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