High-pressure processing for plant proteins


Dr. McDonnell is optimizing the flavor and function of plant-based proteins through high-pressure processing.


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 establishes high-pressure processing (HPP) and high-pressure thermal processing (HPTP) parameters for plant proteins. It uses HPP and HPTP to improve the functionality and flavor of plant proteins for use in plant-based meat.

This work will achieve higher quality plant protein products through the innovative use of pressure processing technologies. This provides a cleaner-label approach to plant-based meat production and accelerates adoption of HPP and HPTP in plant-based meat manufacturing.

Principal researcher

Gfi grantee dr. Ciara mcdonnell, research scientist, food technology, csiro, australia

Dr. Ciara McDonnell

Research Scientist, Food Technology, CSIRO, Australia

Dr. McDonnell heads a multidisciplinary team of protein scientists, process engineers, food chemists, and flavor and sensory scientists from CSIRO, Australia’s national science research agency. She has a strong track record of academic publications and commercial success through private-public partnerships. Her specialties include the mechanistic actions of ingredients and their techno-functional interactions with food matrices. Her research focuses on optimizing novel food processing technologies for improved product quality.

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

Peas in a pod, representing pea protein for plant-based meat production concept

Identifying pea protein off flavors

Learn about Dr. Jian Li’s work at Beijing Technology and Business University to identify off flavors in pea protein and improve plant-based meat.

Red seaweed floating on the ocean surface

Red seaweed protein

Learn about Trophic LLC’s research developing plant-based meat ingredients from red seaweed protein through GFI’s grant program.

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.

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.

Explore research opportunities

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

A closeup view of a plated plant-based burger with lettuce, tomatoes, and pickles


The science of plant-based meat

Learn about the science of plant-based meat. Discover resources and research on the latest technological developments and key scientific questions.