Engineering plant-based meat’s microstructure


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


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


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.

Plant-based meat on a grill

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

Plant-based category marketing

Interest in plant-based products is growing, but many consumers still express skepticism about plant protein foods, or simply lack familiarity with the category. Category marketing campaigns to promote plant-based and…

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

Facilitating import and export of alternative protein products

Many alternative protein companies are interested in exporting their products or ingredients, and this is matched by interest from businesses in many countries eager to import exciting products. But import/export…

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

Animal ingredient substitution

Enabling easy animal ingredient substitutions in a wide range of food products.

Read More
Research grants banner


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.