Treatment and Utilization of Industrial Tofu Waste in Indonesia

M. Faisal1,*, Asri Gani1, Farid Mulana1 and H. Daimon2

1Department of Chemical Engineering, Syiah Kuala University, Jl. Syech A. Rauf, Darussalam, Banda Aceh 23111, Aceh, Indonesia

2Department of Environmental and Life Science, Toyohashi University of Technology, Tempakucho, Toyohashi 441-8580, Aichi, Japan

*Corresponding author: Fax: +62 651 52222; Tel: +62 651 7412301; E-mail:


Tofu is a popular food for the people because it contains good and healthy nutrition. Furthermore, it is low-cost for many people. The tofu processing industry, which usually is done by the small industries, can be found in almost every city in Indonesia. As a result of the large number of the small tofu industries, the waste gives a lot of impacts towards the environment. The great amount of water used for the tofu processing results in the great amount of the wastewater. The waste from the tofu processing usually has a high amount of organic substances; the BOD level is around 6000-8000 mg/L, the COD is around 7.500-14.000 mg/L. If all wastes are disposed without any treatments at all, this will surely result in polluting the surrounding environment. This article aims to discuss about the treatment process of the tofu waste in Indonesia and some other alternative treatment systems from previous researches. In general, small tofu industries do nothing about their wastes. It is because the price that they need to pay for the waste treatment is considerably high. On the other hand, some bigger tofu industries are usually treating the waste of their tofu processing with the anaerobic system with the treatment efficiency up to 50-70 %. Even though the waste has been treated, the organic substances in the waste (BOD and COD) released to the water still has a considerably high level of substances, above 500 mg/L. Therefore, further treatments are needed so that the organic content in the waste effluent meets the wastewater quality standard. Several researches shows that the liquid waste from the tofu industries can be treated by using the anaerobic fix domedigester, fixed bed anaerobic, anaerobic baffle reactor, thermophilic anaerobic stirred tank reactor, up flow anaerobic sludge blanket, up flow anaerobic filter process, anaerobic fluidized bed reactor and several others. All of those anaerobic processes produce methane gas which can be used as a source of energy. Some researchers have also successfully utilized the liquid waste of the tofu industries as the source of hydrogen gas, as well as the media lactic acid production. On the other hand, the solid waste (okara) can be used as snacks, fertilizers and feed for livestock. Okara can also be used as the basic ingredients of isoflavones.


Tofu waste, Okara, Anaerobic digestion, Methane, Hydrogen.

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