There is a growing realization that we must move towards a diet based on sustainable proteins, largely derived from plant sources and waste streams. Compared to animal protein, plant proteins generally have a lower bioavailability and bioefficacy and are thus of lower quality. Consequently, the switch to plant protein may pose a problem for vulnerable groups, such as the elderly.
The challenge is to develop suitable methods to pre-treat and process sustainable protein sources in order to obtain the desired nutritional value. Also, a better understanding of the interrelationships between protein sources, the metabolic status of the host, the immune system, and microbial ecology is desperately needed. The aim of this theme is to generate the scientific knowledge to effectively make the transition towards more sustainable protein sources while maintaining nutritional quality, and exploit the potential benefits of novel protein sources toward the optimization of human health.