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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Albany, California » Western Regional Research Center » Healthy Processed Foods Research » Research » Research Project #443993

Research Project: Develop Functional Plant-Based Proteins

Location: Healthy Processed Foods Research

Project Number: 2030-41000-069-009-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: May 1, 2023
End Date: Dec 1, 2025

(1) Isolate and characterize the properties of plant proteins; and (2) Understand protein structure-function-applicability relationships with the intent to create novel, functional, and healthy foods and ingredients. (3) Evaluate the effects of novel food processing technologies on structure-function-applicability relationships

Task 1 Develop cost-effective methods to extract proteins from legume and barley. Different pretreatments of raw materials will be evaluated and optimized to maximize protein recovery and functionality. The extracted proteins will be lyophilized and used for further characterization and application evaluations. Protein recovery, protein content, and process complexity will be the major criteria to evaluate the extraction efficiency. Task 2. Characterize physicochemical and functional properties of the extracted proteins. Factors dominating protein functionality and practical applicability are the source and intrinsic physicochemical properties, such as protein size, shape, amino acid composition, charge, hydrophobicity/hydrophilicity ratio, secondary/tertiary/quaternary structural arrangements, micro-domain structures, and thermal stability. Protein in vitro digestibility and critical functional properties, including solubility, water binding, oil binding, gelation, viscosity, emulsification, and foaming will be characterized. The top three commercially available plant proteins, including soy protein, wheat gluten, and pea protein will be characterized similarly as benchmarks for comparison with the extracted proteins. Task 3. Evaluate the effects of novel food processing technologies on structure-function-applicability relationships. Evaluate the effects of different food processing technologies including fermentation, germination, and high pressure processing on structural and functional properties of the proteins for potential application.