Proteins play an important role in our diet. Proteins which are unsuitable for use in food or animal feed may be appropriate for technological applications, such as coatings, adhesives and green chemicals. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research has investigated the potential applications of proteins in the biobased economy for decades.
Proteins from side streams
Finding more protein sources for the continuously expanding world population is a vital topic today. Protein is an important nutrient for humans and animals. It can be extracted from side streams of all kinds, such as grasses, cowhides and algae. While many types of protein cannot be used as food or animal feed, they can still be valuable in technological applications.
New sources of protein
Wageningen Food & Biobased Research conducts research into important new sources of protein, such as microalgae, macroalgae (seaweeds), grasses, leaves, insects and shellfish remains. Furthermore, we investigate protein-rich side streams, such as those from wheat and corn ethanol production, the meat and fish processing industry, and press-cake of soy, rapeseed and sunflowers. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research works with the private sector and other research institutions on technological applications for these protein sources. Examples include adhesives, coatings and green chemicals. The market for these green materials is expected to grow over the coming years.
Retaining quality and functionality
In addition to sources of protein, Wageningen Food & Biobased Research also focuses specifically on biorefining processes for proteins from protein containing biomass. We get proteins from the source by means of downstream processing. We develop and use mild process technologies to retain their quality and functionality. We also use pretreatment, isolation and purification methods to maintain the quality and functionality of proteins from biomass. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research can isolate and valorise proteins from biomass for technical applications. We can also customise protein properties to make them suitable for chemical and/or enzymatic processes. Wageningen Food & Biobased Research works at the request of, and in partnership with, the private sector and government on methods for the optimal utilisation of proteins from side streams.