Structuring process of plant-based protein is currently preferred over meat proteins since it requires less primary agricultural production. In this project, we exclusively use peas as raw material for the preparation of structured, protein-based foods. The structuring of interest is extrusion, which process is characterised by high throughput, high temperature and short residence time. This process is extremely complex and difficult to predict quantitatively up front, which makes a translation of the process towards new proteins complicated. The specific focus is in this project is therefore on using the shear cell to predict and understand the process during extrusion.
Looking into improving the structuring process of plant-based proteins (here pea protein), two structuring mechanisms will be investigated; (1) using a multiphase biopolymeric dispersion, and (2) using the alignment of colloidal dispersions. In both mechanisms, there will be specific attention to the role and influence of incorporation of an oily phase. Addition of an oil phase can help the structure formation and is required to supply the right flavours to the structured products. This represents an opportunity to both improve product structure and flavour at the same time. Furthermore, in this project, the interactions between flavours and pea protein matrix will be investigated. To evaluate the dynamic release of flavour components from a pea based product as it is going from raw material into structured protein products.
To examine and predict the structuring of pea proteins into structured protein-based products, a variety of characterisation methods will be used; to understand the dynamics (rheological and diffusive) and equilibrium (thermodynamics, water binding and water holding) behaviour.
Collaboration between Wageningen University and Firmenich