So far the production of plant-based food ingredients mostly aims at high purity which allows a better control of the functional properties of the ingredients. However, high purity is also associated with material losses and intensive processing, which can lead to reduction of micronutrients and dietary fibre. It is believed that complete fractionation of plant material is not necessary, as almost no food product consist of a single ingredient only. And by producing enriched fractions instead of pure fractions, the energy input, water foot print and material losses can be decreased. Further the use of mildly refined ingredients might contribute to a more balanced diet and extreme process conditions can be avoided which might lead to enhanced functional properties.
The aim of the project is the development of fractionation technologies based on already proven technologies but also on assessing novel process routes to create mildly refined fractions from structured material. Those fractions should form the basis for novel functional food ingredients. The techniques should be based on the structure of the raw material with special focus on a targeted functional property. A main goal of the project is to achieve significant reduction of the energy, water and carbon footprint, by replacing energy intensive pure ingredients with less processed fractions, efficient processing of total crops and focus on targeted functionalities with novel processing routes.
In the first stage of the project, it will be investigated in detail how and where the components are bound in the crop and which forces are necessary to disentangle them from the crop. With these insights, novel processing routes will be developed and tested aiming at functional fractions rather than pure fractions. These functional fractions are then to be tested in regard of their applicability in food systems and the processing routes will be evaluated based on the valorisation of raw material, in regard of sustainability and nutritional value linked to their performance to decrease energy input, water footprint and material losses.
This project is co-funded by TKI-E&I with the supplementary grant ‘TKI-Toeslag’ for Topconsortia for Knowledge and Innovation (TKI’s) of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.