PhD Projects Food Structuring

Less is more; meat analogues with next generation ingredients

Miek Schlangen

The goal of this research project is to understand structure formation of protein-enriched fractions from plant legumes into meat analogues. We will focus on exploration of novel protein-enriched fractions of yellow pea and mung bean through dry fractionation. Furthermore, the relation between raw material properties, process conditions and the formation of fibrous, meat-like structures will be studied by rheological measurements, physical and chemical characterization and water distribution experiments.

This PhD project is partially funded by the Good Food Institute.

Understanding interactions in plant materials: consequences for fractionation

Yafei Yu

The objective of this project is to improve the utilization of leaf protein as an alternative protein source. Leafy biomass are perishable materials that have complex structure and diversity of proteins. The protein yield and purity are highly dependent on the plant species and the processing history. Together with plant scientists, we aim to understand the relationship between the plant materials and the processing conditions for leaf protein extraction.  

Understanding structure formation in extrusion for meat analogue application

Nienke Kollmann

Extrusion is a commonly used method to produce meat analogues with a fibrous structure that is comparable to meat. However, knowledge about the effect of different processing conditions and protein ingredients is rather empirical still. This project is therefore aimed at gaining a more fundamental understanding of fibrous structure formation during extrusion. A first step to achieve this goal is finding the link between structure formation under well-defined flow, which is used in the shear cell, and under less defined flow conditions in the extruder. Additionally, the effect of the different processing parameters and ingredients will be investigated. The obtained data will be used to create a model linking processing parameters and functional properties of the ingredient to the structure of the final product. In order to achieve these goals this project will also focus on further development of the measurement techniques to quantify the structural properties and processing history of the extrudates.

This project is part of the PlantPromise project

Improving plant-based meat analogues by evaluating their health benefits

Jolien de Boer

This project aims to determine the effect of food processing on digestibility, amino acid profile, and formation of contaminants of plant-based meat analogues. Additionally, the function of the gut microbiome in relation to plant-based meat analogues will be researched. Together with nutritionists, we aim to understand the health effects of plant-based meat analogues and hope to define rules (e.g. on salt, protein content, protein quality/digestibility, and amino acids) for the next generation of plant-based meat analogues.

This project is in cooperation with FQD and HNH, and is funded by TKI Agri & Food.

Phenols and protein from oilseeds: finetuning their interactions for application in novel functional materials

Sybren Zondervan

Seeds used for edible vegetable oil production contain valuable structuring materials and nutrients, like phenols and proteins. These two compounds readily form complexes which has the potential to create novel structuring methods. However, during oil-extraction from the seeds, these compounds already interact thereby reducing their bioavailability and structuring capabilities. This study focuses on understanding the interactions between oilseed proteins and phenols, methods to separate both compounds, and possible applications in which these interactions are finetuned towards specific functional materials, like meat analogues or packaging materials.