Creating muscle-like structures from pulse proteins

2020-2022

Dr. Vickers is characterizing and texturizing pulse proteins to give plant-based meat the familiar fibrous texture of conventional meat.

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 characterizes and functionalizes pulse flours and protein isolates for producing muscle-like fibers. The research uses twin-screw extrusion to build textured proteins with muscle-like structures from pulses and determines the quality of these textured proteins using sensory measurements.

This work will advance our understanding of the relationship among the structural characteristics of proteins, processing parameters, and extrusion conditions in plant-based meat production. It will develop technologies to enhance the potential of pulse proteins for use in plant-based meat and improve the sensory properties of these products.

Principal researcher

GFI grantee Dr. Zata Vickers, Professor of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, USA

Dr. Zata Vickers

Professor of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, USA

Dr. Vickers’s expertise includes in-depth understanding of protein chemistry, functionality of plant protein ingredients, and food materials science. She focuses on measuring food acceptability and the sensory properties of foods. She directs the Sensory Center at the Department of Food Science and Nutrition at the University of Minnesota and is an expert researcher at the Plant Protein Innovation Center.

Row of lentil plants with white flowers, representing pulse proteins for plant-based meat production

Plant Protein Innovation Center

Check out the Plant Protein Innovation Center website for more information about the plant-based food research at the University of Minnesota.

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