Identifying pea protein off flavors


Dr. Jian Li is identifying and comparing “beany” off flavors in different pea bean proteins to improve plant-based meat and dairy.


TECHNOLOGY SECTOR:  Ingredient optimization

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

Project aims

This project identifies the volatile compounds in pea proteins that lead to beany off flavors and compares flavor profiles of various pea cultivars.

This work will develop a basic theory for removing beany off flavors in pea proteins, which could ultimately improve the taste of products made from pea proteins.

Principal researcher

Gfi grantee dr. Jian li, associate professor, beijing technology and business university, china

Dr. Jian Li

Associate Professor, Beijing Technology and Business University, China

Dr. Li is a trained molecular sensory scientist whose research focuses on establishing novel extraction methods for volatile compounds. He works to identify and isolate the volatile compounds in pea protein by gas chromatography, mass spectrometry, olfactometry, and aroma extract dilution analysis.

Bulk quantities of several brightly colored spices in bags

The flavor of plant-based meat analogues

Read Dr. Li’s review article on “The flavor of plant-based meat analogues”  published in the July/August 2020 issue of Cereal Foods World.

View related grant projects

Oats in a bowl against a blue background, a possible new ingredient for plant-based meat

Oat protein fermentation

Learn about cutting-edge research to use fermented oat protein to develop plant-based meat.

Plant-based minced meat

Proteins under pressure

Learn about Dr. Ciara McDonnell’s work to establish high-pressure processing and high-pressure thermal processing parameters for plant proteins.

Steel fermentation tanks

Fermenting flavor bases

Learn about GFI research grantee BZ Goldberg’s work at The Mediterranean Food Lab to develop better flavors for plant-based meat using fermentation.

Three wooden spoons holding red, brown, and white beans on a dark gray background

Characterizing bean proteins

Dr. Caroline Mellinger at The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) is exploring bean protein as ingredients for plant-based meat.

Explore research opportunities

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

Catalog of animal meat flavors

Creating a catalog of molecules responsible for the characteristic flavor of a species will enable alternative protein product manufacturers to create products that more accurately replicate the sensory experience of…

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

Hybrid products to optimize nutrition, taste, cost, and sustainability

Hybrid products are a promising means to improve the cost and sustainability of animal-derived meat while improving the taste of plant proteins. Promoting the health benefits of hybrids may facilitate…

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

Dr. Jian Li is taking the beany flavor out of plant proteins

GFI competitive grant recipient Dr. Jian Li is figuring out how to make plant-based proteins with no beany off-flavors. His work will serve as a blueprint for entrepreneurs around the…

An assortment of beans in bowls on a white table, representing ingredients for plant-based meat

Plant Protein Primer

Find information on nutrition, functionality, price, sourcing, and consumer perceptions of plant protein sources for plant-based meat.