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Innovation Opportunities

Method for Processing Plant-Based Proteins

RFI-170113

This opportunity is closed

Xinova seeks processes and methods for producing plant protein concentrates and isolates with valuable functional properties.

There is a desire to develop processes and methods for proteins derived from plants other than soy. These plant derived proteins should have beneficial functional properties, such as solubility (the ability to be stably hydrated or dispersed in solution), emulsification and foaming abilities, ease of dry flow, off-flavor masking, and pleasing texture and smoothness (i.e., creaminess), which will allow these proteins to be incorporated into foods and beverages, thereby greatly increasing marketing potential.

Traditionally, the protein isolates and concentrates with the most outstanding functional properties are the dairy proteins whey and casein, which have exceptional emulsification abilities, texture, and “mouthfeel,” and which readily form stable suspensions in water. Soy proteins do not naturally have these functional properties due to their higher molecular weight and folded conformation. Processes for soy protein isolates and concentrates have been developed to disrupt the protein structure so that water may interact with the protein surfaces, and numerous soy foods and beverages have since been commercialized, having excellent texture and mouthfeel.

There is a need for innovations in methods and processes for protein isolates and concentrates having good functional properties, in particular for methods and processes for plants other than soy. Such protein isolates and concentrates should have properties which allow for inclusion into new foods and beverages with good shelf stability and mouthfeel, and an absence of grittiness or astringency. These functional properties should further be stable and uniform across the beverage or food product pH ranges.

Problem Definition

Protein fortification is an important component in the effort to meet global nutritional deficiency standards. Increased protein consumption is necessary, yet the environment cannot handle a significant increase in production of animal protein (e.g. meat and dairy). Plant-based proteins, especially pulses (e.g., peas, lentils, chickpeas, and beans), will therefore play an important role in increasing global protein consumption. (read more)

This opportunity comes from the efforts of Xinova’s R&D Consulting and Innovation team.

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