Improving plant protein

by Jeff Gelski
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EDE, THE NETHERLANDS – Scientists from NIZO Food Research have developed a preparation process that improves the quality of plant proteins, including their functionality in food products, the Ede-based company said March 17. Steps taken during extraction and spray drying keep plant proteins in their native state, according to the company.

The technology may be used to produce dissolvable powders from a range of plant sources. By selecting the right source, NIZO is able to prepare protein ingredients with functionalities such as high-volume foams for non-dairy cappuccinos, stable emulsions such as dressings and soft gels, like desserts.

For one example, spray-drying conditions kept pea protein extracts in their native state. Optimizations in processes, ranging from extraction to drying, led to a functional powder, both in terms of powder characteristics and solubility.

“While each protein source is different, the tools needed to optimize protein ingredient quality remain the same,” said Fred van de Velde, principal scientist and group leader for protein functionality for NIZO. “We are very happy that we are now able to develop solutions for many different protein companies to keep native, functional plant proteins.”
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