PhD Projects Food Structuring

Insights in pea protein as ingredient for meat analogues

Floor Schreuders

In this project, we investigate the structuring potential of pea protein to mimic the fibrous nature of meat using extrusion and shear cell technology. Techniques like tensile strength analysis, TD-NMR, NIR, and microscopy are essential to get a better insight into the structure formed. Further, methods are developed to study the rheology of dense protein blends approaching the large-shear conditions of interest during heating. In-depth knowledge of the rheological properties will enhance the development of meat analogues.


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.

Mild fractionation for Food: from structured material to functional ingredient

Anna Moller

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.

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.


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.  

Using rapeseed and sunflower materials for meat analogue applications

Wanqing Jia

The aim of this research is to investigate the potential of using rapeseed and sunflower materials for meat analogue application by shear cell technologies. The effect of fractionation process for phenolic compounds removal will be assessed on the functional properties. Further, we will study the effect of protein and phenolic compounds interactions in a model system to understand the role of phenolic compounds in structural properties together with the rheology tools. Structural properties of the sheared samples will be visualized through the confocal laser scanning microscopy. This research is part of the project Plant Meat Matters.


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