Protein Functionality II: Stability of Highly Concentrated Protein
Protein based ingredients are high in priority within the strategic innovation program (SIP) Customised Processed Food. This program has been defined in 2015 to strengthen the innovation potential within the Netherlands by promoting collaboration between TNO and Wageningen FBR (WFBR). The previous Protein Functionality project (PPP) has been completed and disseminated. In view of the successful outcome this follow-up project has been defined by the participating knowledge Institutes (TNO, WFBR and NIZO) and three industrial partners to further increase the innovation potential of protein based ingredients. There is a need to develop methods to quantify and characterize protein-protein interactions in complex dairy protein mixtures (as such, mixed with hydrolysates, and mixed with plant proteins). These methods will allow investigation of the role of aggregation and its dynamics in relation to storage stability and digestibility.
The project consists of two subprojects:
1. Protein-protein interactions and aggregation dynamics in protein mixtures;
2. Role of protein-protein interactions and aggregation on protein digestion kinetics.
Important part of the project is the development of a methodology to measure (initial) aggregation and predict shelf life stability of these protein mixtures. Therefore we map protein-protein interactions and aggregation in various complex mixtures high in protein content using various experimental techniques. This give important insights in the relation between protein properties and aggregation propensity and dynamics as well as on the role of other non-protein components. Furthermore, aggregation will be studied during in-vitro digestion. Various enzymes will be studied to control aggregation during shelf-life and/or during digestion. These learnings will allow industry to better predict the functionality of proteins in terms of generic measurable protein properties and thus better predict and control the stability and digestibility of their end products. This will result in higher product quality, less waste, and more flexibility in ingredient use. Increased ingredient flexibility also allows industry to choose for more sustainable produced ingredients while maintaining the high quality of their end products.
The long-term goal of the industrial partners is to be able to better predict functionality of high protein liquid food systems containing a complex mixture of natural ingredients. Functionality includes aggregation characteristics that are important for both shelf life stability and digestion. These are topics of great interest from a fundamental point of view and as well as from an application point of view.
The aim of this PPP is to predict stability (on a time scale between hours and months) and enzymatic digestibility of complex dairy protein mixtures (containing casein and whey proteins, mixed with hydrolysates, and mixed with plant proteins) from ingredient properties and initial aggregation.
This will add to the development of more sustainable foods with higher quality that have a longer shelf life and to less waist.
This will result in products that have a longer shelf-life and therefore have the potential to reduce food waste, have tuned digestibility and therefore a positive health impact, are more sustainable because they can be made from a larger diversity of starting materials, and have better functionality during their shelf life and have therefore added value. This is one of the focus areas of the MMIP.