European consortium to refine bio-purification techniques in order to reduce parasitic notes of plant origin

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Oct 15, 2021 — In order to optimize the quality of plant-based food products, a new consortium of European food manufacturers, universities and food research institutes has launched a project to develop techniques of bio-purification based on fermentation. The project will explore the potential of fermentation to remove bad tastes and other undesirable characteristics in various plant isolates and proteins.

Based in the Netherlands, the three-year project “Bio-Purification of Plant Proteins” is supported by a grant from the Dutch government, through its Top Sector Agri & Food (TKI Agri & Food) initiative.

It aims to develop bio-purification strategies – processes for eliminating bad tastes, anti-nutritional compounds and phytoestrogens from plant proteins – while determining the strengths and limitations of such techniques.

“To do this, the project will build on knowledge on how fermentation can remove unwanted components from technologies already existing within the consortium and the industry at large,” says the consortium.

Advance fermentation
Fermentation has been used for millennia to create foods such as yogurt, bread, and beer. Today, these biological mechanisms are used in a range of natural solutions, which have extended to fermented soybeans to prevent heartburn, thermostable probiotics in tea, and yeast proteins rich in amino acids.

Fermentation can be used to counter certain compounds in vegetable proteins that can cause unpleasant flavors in finished products.Fermentation can be used to counteract certain compounds in vegetable proteins that can cause unpleasant flavors in finished products, such as the hexanal of legume proteins, which produces a noticeable “bean” flavor.

“It can be very difficult, if not impossible, to completely remove these unwanted compounds using conventional food processing approaches such as filtration or chemical treatment,” the Dutch consortium points out.

“Also, the heavy use of chemical additives doesn’t really align with the view of plant-based foods as a natural, healthy, and sustainable option.”

Using fermentation to meet future dietary protein needs is already widely recognized as the most effective solution to feed a growing planet. Over the past year, the process has been tested by other industry pioneers to convert industrial emissions of carbon dioxide into high-quality protein for human and animal consumption.

Last summer, NovoNutrients evolved its proprietary fermentation process that uses industrial emissions of carbon dioxide, cheap hydrogen and natural microbes to create high-quality fermentation-based proteins for human consumption. and animal.

Bridging the gap between industry and academia
TKI Agri & Food is one of nine “Top Sector” organizations created by the Dutch government to stimulate innovation and business opportunities in sectors where the Netherlands is most active.

The plant protein bio-purification consortium includes food research company NIZO, GeneralMills, Glanbia Ireland, IFF, Ruitenberg Ingredients, DMK / DOC, Bel, Wageningen University and Research, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and HAS University of Applied Sciences.

Herbal Powers Forward
The “Most Important Trends for 2022” recently unveiled by Innova Market Insights indicate that the plant sector maintains its grip as the “canvas for innovation” of the industry.

The UK’s Vegan Society predicts that the market for plant-based milk substitutes will grow by around 17% per year, between 2020 and 2025, while consumption of vegan cheese is expected to increase by 13% per year.

Featured at the show of the recent Anuga 2021, vegan brands entering the market this year are launching into new cuisines with launches such as Middle Eastern grilled meats, Asian satays and the Mediterranean palate.

By Benjamin Ferrer

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