Engineering plant-based meat’s microstructure

2019-2022

Dr. Mario Martinez is developing whole-muscle tissue through the innovative combination of microstructure engineering and high-moisture extrusion.

PRODUCTION PLATFORM: Plant-based

TECHNOLOGY SECTOR:  End product formulation and manufacturing

GFI's Competitive Research Grants Program Badge, featuring a whole cut of meat within a magnifying glass representing research

Project aims

This project uses a two-phase technique to produce a core-shell plant-based meat product. It canvases plant proteins for use as either fiber-forming or bulking components in plant-based meat (with considerations for complete amino acid profile) and characterizes their nano-, micro-, and macroscale traits to enhance the structure and texture of plant-based meat.

This work will create a method for producing next-generation texturized plant proteins for use in a variety of new consumer products. It will reduce waste and cost by using otherwise low-value byproducts in plant-based meat formulation and will accelerate consumer acceptance by replicating organoleptic properties of conventional meat.

Principal researcher

GFI grantee Dr. Mario Martinez, Assistant Professor, Aarhus University, Denmark

Dr. Mario Martinez

Assistant Professor, Aarhus University, Denmark

Dr. Martinez uses whole-muscle tissue engineering and high-moisture extrusion to manufacture plant-based meat. His work bridges fundamental and practical research by applying physicochemical, biological, and engineering approaches to plant-based ingredients. His research focuses on the relationship between structure/composition and the resultant nutritional and textural characteristics.

GFI’s competitive research grant program badge on a background of abstract circles and lines representing science

Page

Research grants

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

View related grant projects

Sensors in a manufacturing facility, representing ultrasound sensors for food extrusion

Integrating sensors into extrusion

Learn about Dr. Filiz Koksel’s work at the University of Manitoba to integrate sensors into plant-based meat extrusion.

Fresh fava beans in a bowl

Texturizing proteins and fiber

GFI grantee Dr. Girish Ganjyal at Washington State University is texturizing proteins and fiber to make better plant-based meat.

Shear cell technology

GFI grantee Dr. Birgit Dekkers at Rival Foods in The Netherlands is developing shear cell technology to make whole cuts of plant-based meat.

Fork full of seared plant based meat on a grill

Creating fiber-like structures

Learn how GFI grantee Dr. David Julian McClements is developing an alternative to extrusion for producing plant-based meat at the University of Massachusetts.

Explore research opportunities

  • Cultivated
  • Fermentation
  • Plant-Based

Build alternative protein sessions into scientific conferences

Elevating the visibility and credibility of the field at scientific conferences will expand the technical talent pipeline and amplify collaboration and funding efforts.

Read More
  • Cultivated
  • Fermentation
  • Plant-Based

Building interdisciplinary university research centers of excellence

Interdisciplinary research is essential for tackling many of the complex problems facing today’s world. Though the number of research projects advancing alternative protein science has increased in recent years, this…

Read More
  • Cultivated
  • Fermentation
  • Plant-Based

Building alternative protein programs and majors at universities

To ensure a strong talent pipeline, there is a need to launch robust university programming, ranging from certificate programs to short multi-course modules, centered around alternative protein. Full majors would…

Read More

Blog

This researcher is bringing protein innovation one step closer to plant-based steak

Dr. Mario Martinez, a GFI 2018-19 Competitive Research Grant Winner, is using microstructure engineering and chemistry to give plant proteins the fibrous qualities of muscle tissue.