At the beginning of 2021 WFBR together with Food Tech Brainport kickstarted an innovative PPP combining knowledge development with valorization activities. The partnership brings the total use vision into practice by develop an integrated approach of high-valued applications of plant-based side and waste streams in food applications. The current consortium exists of side- and waste streams companies and technology partners. It includes Van Rijsingen Ingredients, PeelPioneers, Evers Specials, ELAE, FTNON/JBT Technologies and the Sustainable Food Initiative. We call for new (SME) partners to extend and complement the current consortium.
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This project aims to develop design parameters and guidelines for (new) plant-based protein sources to allow successful application of high-protein plant-based products, mimicking cheeses and cold-cuts.
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The goal of this project is to investigate sustainable production chains for cellular proteins based on the interrelationship between growth conditions, downstream processing and functionality for a set of selected microorganisms, including microalgae, bacteria, fungi and yeast. For each organism, three major focus areas will be studied: cultivation conditions, downstream processing, and structure-function relationships. For a subset of samples food application trials will be performed with a focus on dairy and meat analogues. In parallel to the technology development, potential supply chain bottlenecks will be addressed. Techno-economic analyses will be used to prioritize processing routes and application directions. Consumer research will be used to understand the market potential of whole biomass compared to refined fractions. A sustainability analysis will further support prioritization of specific processing routes to maximize impact, while prioritizing consumer demands.
Overall, this project will deliver insight into the applicability, sustainability and feasibility of using microbial biomass, and/or fractions thereof, as functional protein rich ingredients in food applications.
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The proposal is based on concepts that already exist but are still relatively new in food and biomass dewatering. Our current way of dewatering is generally based on evaporating water. This is inherently energy consuming, because of the high enthalpy of evaporation of water. Freeze concentration and drying have similar drawbacks due to the high enthalpy of freezing, while techniques like RO and FO have other issues.
It is however possible to ‘draw’ water from a matrix, using an electric field. This can be surprisingly efficient since this does not require the water to be either evaporated or frozen. Therefore, major energy savings have been reported. This can be done with relatively diluted systems, with much more concentrated pastes, and can even be done for final drying.
The proposal involves all four technical universities of The Netherlands: the universities of Wageningen, Delft, Eindhoven and Groningen.
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Cellular agriculture, and single-cell proteins are part of a major revolution that will allow us to meet future food protein needs very efficiently and with high sensorial and nutritional quality, while requiring hardly any agricultural land. However, not much is known about the scalability and challenges of these novel ingredients, so the basis for future investment decisions is unclear.
A multidisciplinary team of researchers will explore the potential of these new protein sources together with companies and stakeholders, using existing raw material from start-up companies involved in producing A) tissue engineered milk, B) precision fermentation derived milk proteins and C) single cell proteins (biomass). For application impact, we explore the bottlenecks that currently hinder affordable large-scale production: protein quality, mild downstream processing, scalability, and application, EU legislation, and safety. From a scientific perspective, we will decipher structure-function relationships of milk proteoforms, expanding our understanding of how nature combines proteins.
In the short-term, our project will develop technologies and knowledge to translate the novel proteins into food prototypes. In this way, we will illustrate the potential of these proteins for any (food) product in the long-term, provide evidence on the resource efficiency, sustainability potential, and safety of different fermentation approaches, and thus facilitate the valorization of knowledge by users.
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The overall objective of the SyMBiosIs project is to demonstrate the potential of fermentation derived microbial biomass, from three pathways, for several industrial applications in the food, feed and agro industries.
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