Motif FoodWorks, the animal-free ingredient company, has partnered with the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass) to improve functional property testing in plant-based proteins.
The collaboration aims to optimise the process of characterising functional properties of food proteins including their solubility, stability, colour and other properties critical to the production of plant-based products.
According to Motif, functionality tests need to evolve to keep up with the increasing number of companies looking to expand the scope and sophistication of their plant-based products.
Together, UMass and Motif will work to characterise key properties of food-grade proteins at lower protein concentrations. They will also develop functional tests so that small amounts of proteins can be rapidly analysed as opposed to significant sample sizes previous tests have required.
Motif’s head of food science, Stefan Baier, will lead the two-year initiative in partnership with academics at the UMass department of food science with expertise in lipid oxidation, protein functionality, structural design and natural product.
“When it comes to protein functionality, there are certain physical and chemical attributes that are critical to the ultimate success of a plant-based product — things like solubility, or how the protein will emulsify,” said Baier.
Baier added: “These characteristics become key pieces in the roadmap to ultimately formulating a protein that will perform the way you need it to. Being able to identify these properties at smaller concentrations will help us better select promising leads earlier in the process.”
Mike Leonard, CTO at Motif said: “We are trying to solve very complex problems for our customers — helping them to create plant-based foods that meet consumer expectations — and that work begins at the formulation level.
“Our partnership with UMass will help make a critical part of Motif’s process more efficient, optimizing our ability to identify and scale promising protein leads and ultimately enabling us to provide better ingredients to our customers, faster.”
In December last year, Motif announced its partnership with The University of Queensland (UQ) in Brisbane to test and identify new formulations to improve the texture of plant-based meat products.
© FoodBev Media Ltd 2020