Call for partners | Accelerating adoption of pulses by solid state fermentation: PROPULSE

Wageningen University (Laboratories of Food Process Engineering & Food Microbiology) and Wageningen Food & Biobased Research are searching for industrial partners interested in joint research efforts to develop a targeted dry solid-state fermentation approach allowing the production of clean label pulse protein-rich ingredients with excellent flavour profile and high nutritional value.

Pulse ingredients are increasingly incorporated in various foods for their nutritional value and their functionality (for example texture). Traditionally, pulse protein concentrates and isolates are prepared by wet processing, but more natural and sustainable processing routes such as dry fractionation have been proposed . Drawback is that pulse flours and dry-enriched pulse ingredients have high antinutritional factor (ANF) contents and have a strong off-flavour (e.g. beany off-flavour). These limit the application of otherwise sustainably produced ingredients in food applications. A promising way to unlock the full potential for dry-processed pulse ingredients is to treat these further with solid state fermentation (SSF), a natural process for preparing foods well-known to consumers. SSF offers the possibility to (i) remove, mask, or even create positive flavours, (ii) reduce ANF in a natural way, and (iii) enrich the ingredients in micronutrients. Unfortunately, plant-specific starter cultures are limited in their availability and moreover underlying mechanisms for strain selection and subsequent fermentation to optimise the properties of pulse-ingredients are not known.

Unlocking the potential of dry-fractionated pulse ingredients by solid state fermentation

The project PROPULSE will develop plant-based specific starter cultures (mostly consisting of lactic acid bacteria) via selection and optimisation. Solid-state fermentation processes of flours and dry enriched protein concentrates of selected pulses will be developed and scaled-up to prepare tasty and functional protein ingredients for evaluation in prototype food applications. Hereby, with PROPULSE we aim at propelling the use of pulse-derived ingredients and the production of purposely made ingredients for specific food applications, e.g. meat and cheese analogues, plant-based snacks and drinks. Newly developed starter cultures will be compared to commercially available starter cultures. The selection and improvement through adaptive laboratory evolution (ALE) and design of (non-GMO) starter cultures will lead to sustainable and nutritious pulses ingredients with optimised taste and aroma, enabling TASTY plant-based foods.

Want to join us?

This consortium is open for participation by ingredient manufacturers, starter culture companies and equipment suppliers and producers of plant-based foods. We foresee that pulse protein sources are of interest. In return for in-cash and in-kind contributions to the project, partners can specify pulse ingredients of interest, learn about development of plant-based starter cultures, gain insight in the production and application of fermented ingredients in prototype products, and provide direction to the research activities.