Interactions with Minor Components; how to optimize plant protein functionality by using or removing minor components

Phenolics and other minor components in biomass have long been regarded as a hindrance when valorizing biomass for i.e. protein. We want to use these components, ideally by preventing their removal from the main stream prior to processing, or by targeted addition of the components that now end up in sidestreams that are discarded. The components will increase the functionality of the main steam, increasing protein solubility or emulsifying properties. This increases applicability of alternative plant-based protein in food.

The project will act on the process of making ingredients from crops. In this process, phenolics and other minor components are regarded as nuisance while they are also difficult to remove. Appreciating how these components can have a positive influence on the ingredient functionality will lead to milder and more sustainable processes and reduce the negative effects often associated with these components. Alternatively, minor components from side streams may be added in the ingredient processing to increase functionality. In the project, WFBR will take the lead in protein extraction and functionalisation and apply the materials in two model products, while NIZO will investigate digestibility of the produced materials, and determine economic feasibility and sustainability. The Hanze Hogeschool will look into the effect of specific compounds on specific protein sources on their functional properties (emulsion, health, application) by means of a number of student projects.

High functionality, less waste

The scientific project aim is to understand interactions between proteins and minor components such as phenolics and to develop methods for the functionalization of protein using phenolics. The corresponding societal aim will be the use of otherwise discarded side streams to support total crop use by valorizing components that were previously regarded as a nuisance. The result that is aimed for is a more functional alternative protein ingredient, made with components that are currently regarded as waste, that can be applied in high quality foods.


Great! If you are a player in the food supply chain and your mission is to support the (long term) switch to a more plant based diet, we would love to hear from you. Our ideal cross functional project team is made of a of primary producers, ingredients producers, end product manufacturers, machine builders and other knowledge partners with relevant expertise and tools.

The project will be setup in a PPP format (Public Private Partnership) for a TKI subsidy, which is a Dutch governmental program sponsoring applied research. Granted projects receive 50% subsidy funding. Industry partners contribute for the other 50%, of which up to half may be in-kind.

Why take part in public-private research?

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