Breeding peas and sorghum for plant-based meat

2019-2022

Dr. Thavarajah is breeding organic pulse and cereal crops for improved protein biofortification as part of better plant-based meat products.

PRODUCTION PLATFORM: Plant-based

TECHNOLOGY SECTOR:  Crop development

Gfi's competitive research grants program badge, featuring a whole cut of meat within a magnifying glass representing research

Project aims

This project establishes a breeding program that optimizes crops for plant-based meat. Specifically, the research identifies genetic markers for protein quality to accelerate future crop breeding. It also develops a two-component protein isolate for use in plant-based meat.

This work develops protocols for breeding crops with higher protein content, selecting pea and sorghum cultivars with superior nutrition and functionality for use in plant-based meat.

Principal researcher

Gfi grantee dr. Dil thavarajah, associate professor, clemson university, usa

Dr. Dil Thavarajah

Associate Professor, Clemson University, USA

Dr. Thavarajah operates an organic breeding program for pulses and cereal crops. She applies biofortification to combat malnutrition and noncommunicable diseases. Her work also combines genome-wide analysis with nutritional sciences in nutrigenomics.

Research grant program badge

Page

Research grants

Learn about cutting-edge alternative protein research funded by GFI. Find funding opportunities for your own research.

View related grant projects

Red, white, and brown quinoa in a bowl

Characterizing quinoa protein

Learn about Dr. Ofir Benjamin’s research characterizing quinoa protein for plant-based meat production at Tel Hai College.

Field of rye, representing agricultural sidestreams for alternative protein production

Valorizing agricultural side streams

GFI grantee Dr. Marieke Bruins at Wageningen University in the Netherlands is valorizing agricultural side streams for alternative proteins.

Field of cassava plants, representing cassava as an ingredient for plant-based meat

Exploring cassava leaf proteins

GFI is exploring cassava leaf proteins with Dr. Ana Carla Kawazoe Sato at Brazil’s University of Campinas.

Cashew apples sitting in a basket

Scaling cashew apple supply

GFI grantee Dr. Dionisio is researching cashew apples as a raw material for plant-based meat and solving scale-up challenges in the supply chain.

Explore research opportunities

  • Cultivated icon Cultivated
  • Fermentation icon Fermentation
  • Plant-based icon Plant-Based

Scientist / engineer outreach and education

To expand the technical talent pipeline, various players in the alternative protein field should reach out to scientists and engineers in relevant disciplines (e.g., biotech, biopharma, and food science) to…

Read More
  • Cultivated icon Cultivated
  • Fermentation icon Fermentation
  • Plant-based icon Plant-Based

Life Cycle Assessment for alternative seafood relative to conventional fishing and aquaculture

To date, no robust environmental assessments have been conducted to compare alternative seafood to its conventional counterparts. An open-access, quantitative analysis of the relative environmental impacts of alternative seafood will…

Read More
  • Cultivated icon Cultivated
  • Plant-based icon Plant-Based

Plant-based scaffolds to improve cultivated meat nutrition

A variety of plant-based scaffolds present the opportunity to combine the natural nutritional and structural benefits of plants with the taste and high protein of cultivated meat. Bacterial nanocellulose from…

Read More
Research grants banner

Blog

Optimizing peas and sorghum for plant-based meat

GFI research grant recipient and pulse crop physiologist Dr. Dil Thavarajah is breeding organic field pea and sorghum to create sustainable, high-quality protein sources for plant-based meat.