There is an urgent need for resource-efficiently produced proteins for inclusion in the human diet. Against a background of increasing global population, and increasing welfare, an increase in demand for protein supply can be anticipated. An optimal use of proteins from various sources, tuned for specific needs and demands, requires that such replacement is guided by science-based tools. In this project, focus will be on evaluation of value to currently used proteins in terms of their bio-functional properties.
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The objective of this proposal is to estimate the nutritional and bio-functional activity potential of proteins from sustainable, resource-efficient, sources for inclusion into the human diet of the future. The nutritional quality and the bioactivity properties of proteins, also after processing steps such as heating, are important parameters that are relevant in this context. Therefore, this initiative will focus on the development of a systematic toolbox, based on a translational research model comprising in vitro and in vivo model systems. This toolbox will be used to evaluate the impact of digestion on the nutritional quality (contents of essential amino acids, degree of digestion, bio-availability) and the bio-functional activity potential (effects on gut-barrier function, intestinal immunity and microbiota) of digestion-derived peptides that are formed as intermediates.
In addition, the effectiveness of supplementations or mixtures of proteins and/or amino acids to optimize the nutritional and/or bio-functional activity demands will be investigated.
The project will develop tools to determine whether sustainably produced proteins can be alternatives to or be combined with presently used proteins, in terms of nutritional quality to meet nutritional (amino acid) requirements, to protect the gut-barrier function, to promote immunological tolerance (ability to provoke a beneficial immunological response) and to support a healthy microbiota.
The benefits of this project to potential partners are
- Generate information on the commercial potential of sustainably produced proteins and their nutritional impact;
- Set the first steps to develop a knowledge-based estimation on the suitability to apply sustainably produced proteins as alternatives for or improvements of those currently used in food formulations;
- Develop novel, high quality products and create standards for protein quality;
Give indications on how to formulate protein/peptide/amino acids blends that meet nutritional requirements, meanwhile sustaining intestinal homeostasis (e.g. barrier and microbiota) and promoting immunological tolerance.