Extraction of bromelain from pineapple wastes by enzymatic pre-treatment and membrane process

Problem statement

In Costa Rica alone, ~10 million tonnes of stubble are generated per year. Although there are already processes that allow bromelain to be recovered enzymatically, filtration and purification is still problematic.

Executive summary

The enzymatic pre-treatment and diafiltration operation is used in a two-stage ultrafiltration system to improve the performance of the bromelain purification and concentration process. This pretreatment uses pectinase, reducing the apparent viscosity and making the process more efficient.

Technology description

The pineapple waste consists of ~15% fruit core, ~30% crown and ~55% skin. It is mixed with an equal mass of water before being filtered and centrifuged. The obtained supernatant is subjected to enzymatic pre-treatment by adding 0.01% pectinase from Aspergillus aculeatus (3800 U/mL), adjusting the pH 7. The filtration process is carried out by cross-flow, with membranes of 75 kDa and 10 kDa pore size in the 1st and 2nd stages respectively. In the 1st pre-filtration stage, bromelain is separated from the high molecular mass compounds and recovered in the permeate. In the 2nd purification stage, the permeate containing bromelain is separated from the low molecular mass compounds, such as amino acids and pigments, and concentrated. To increase the efficiency between the two stages, an intermediate diafiltration step is introduced. The purpose is to first dilute the bromelain in a diluent (water) to maintain a constant feed volume.

Market deployment considerations


Environmental considerations


Technology feedstock

pineapple waste

Type of process

biological treatment

Technology output



Village, Community

Technology Readiness Level



Costa Rica Australia





Technology owner/developer

College of Health and Biomedicine, University Victoria
Send email
Visit website