Future Proteins:Nutritional quality and bio-functional activity after digestion
The global population is projected to reach more than 9 billion by 2050, and by then the global demand for food will essentially double. There is an urgent need for sustainable and resource-efficiently produced proteins with nutritional and health promoting qualities for inclusion in the human diet. An optimal use of proteins from various sources, customised for specific (health) needs, requires that this protein transition is guided by science-based tools. In this project, the focus will be on the evaluation of the gastro-intestinal (GI) health values, that is bio-functional activity, and nutritional quality of currently available proteins for inclusion in the human diet of the future.
To this end, proteins from a variety of protein-suppliers will be analysed for their nutritional qualities and bio-functional properties on metabolism, gut health, immunological tolerance induction, and microbiota ecology, using state of the art in vitro and in vivo tools. These tools will subsequently be used to evaluate the impact of processing (such as heating) and/or digestion on the nutritional quality (contents of essential amino acids, degree of digestion, bio-availability) and the health effects (gut-barrier function, and/or interaction with intestinal immune cells) of the various proteins. In addition, the effectiveness of supplementations or mixtures of proteins and/or amino acids from different sources to optimise the nutritional and/or health quality will be investigated.
The overall objective of this project is to investigate the nutritional quality and bio-functional activity of proteins from sustainable and resource-efficient sources. Primarily in scope are the nutritional requirements, the protection of the gut-barrier function, the promotion of immunologic tolerance and maintenance/development of a healthy microbiota. Comprehensive in vitro and in vivo analyses will be developed and combined in a systematic screening. This will result in a toolbox that will allow future research with emerging interesting proteins sources.
Industrial partners in the project are:
• BASF/Metanomics GmbH
• Marlow Foods/Quorn
Knowledge Infrastructure partners are:
• Wageningen Food&Biobased Research
• Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences
The project contributes to mission D2 (‘Healthy Food the Easy Choice’) of the Knowledge & Innovation Agenda (KIA) Agriculture, Water & Food. The objective of this MMIP is to realise a healthier and more sustainable food supply, and in particular the project addresses the sub programmes ‘Products and Processes’ and ‘Food and Health’.
Proteins form an indispensable component of the human diet, and a shift in their supply sources, allocating proteins from e.g. plant and microbial origin as well as from side-streams, is highly desirable from a sustainability perspective. Novel nutritional proteins should, however, not compromise on nutritional quality in whatsoever way, and hence these aspects have been key to the project.
The overall objective of this project is to investigate the nutritional quality and bio-functional activity of proteins from sustainable and resource-efficient sources. Prime focus are the digestibility, the protection of the gut-barrier function, the promotion of immunologic tolerance and maintenance/development of a healthy microbiota. Comprehensive in vitro and in vivo analyses will be developed and combined in a systematic screening. This will result in a toolbox that will allow to evaluate the potential to include emerging interesting protein sources into the human diet.
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