Design of novel enzyme-based technologies for structuring and processing of soy proteins

The main objective of the project is to strengthen the food industry in the romania and serbia by the development of technologies for production of functional food products enriched with a range of novel low-cost, nutritious and functional soy proteins.

High protein content and health promoting properties of soy protein makes it a desirable food ingredient to be used in many formulations. However, there seems to be a limited number of commercial foods that include soy protein ingredients. Applications of native soy protein is limited by the lack of functional properties such as solubility, water adsorption properties and emulsifying properties, especially in acidic matrixes. Furthermore, the technological functionality of soy proteins become further deteriorated by thermal treatment during oil extraction from soybean, by exposure to low and high pH - as in the production of isoelectric-precipitated soy protein isolate (SPI) - and by exposure to organic solvents - as in the production of ethanol-washed soy protein concentrate (SPC). The aim of the project is to design innovative enzyme and non-thermal technologies that lead to new and expanded market opportunities for soy-derived protein ingredients producers and food companies. By combination of carefully designed non-thermal pretreatment and optimized enzymatic processes, the novel technology makes it possible to obtain protein hydrolysates in which the nutrition content is improved, allergen content is considerably reduced, and antinutritional factors, such as trypsin inhibitor, are destroyed. Moreover, the technological properties - such as solubility, hydration and foaming capacity - of the resulted products will widen the food applications of soy-based ingredients. The enzymatic engineering concept includes search for novel enzymes, and their use in both improved enzyme-aided extraction process of soy protein from soybean white flakes and direct enzyme hydrolysis and/or cross-linking of soy proteins and peptides to modify their structures for novel applications (for example novel interesting textures with incorporated flavor or soy protein-derived functional peptides as high quality food ingredients). The specific objectives of the SOYZYME project are: a) improving the isolation efficiency of protein from soybean white flakes/flour by using novel enzyme-aided extraction technologies with or without thermomechanical treatments; b) developing an optimized enzymatic-catalyzed process for the conversion of soy protein into functional peptides with several technological properties; c) developing soy-based foods with improved texture, taste and functional properties; d) creating novel foods through the addition/ fortification of isolated or enriched fractions of bioactive peptides. The fraction with bioactive peptides will be selected on the basis of screening their functionality and biological activities. The project involves five partners: 1. Faculty of Technology and Metallurgy of University of Belgrade, SERBIA - FTM 2. Sojaprotein, Bečej, SERBIA - SOJAPROTEIN 3. National R&D Institute for Food Bioresources, Bucharest, ROMANIA - IBA 4. Natural Ingredients SRL Fagaras, ROMANIA - NIRD 5. Expergo Business Network SRL Bucharest, ROMANIA - EXPERGO FTM will develop the enzyme technology (including a bioreactor system) to obtain novel soy protein preparations and hydrolysates and then isolate and concentrate the fractions with the desirable properties. Results of the research will then be translated into appropriate industrial technologies to be applied by the soy-processing operator Sojaprotein, which has a production capacity of 250,000 ton/year of soybean. IBA will develop the appropriate food applications of the novel soy protein derived ingredients, making use of its extensive food technology expertise and state-of-the art infrastructure, including three food-processing pilot plants and the required laboratory equipment to assess the properties of foods. NIRD is a SME specialised in ingredients and additives for the food industry and the cosmetics industry - including essential oils and natural flavourings - and is intended to implement the novel technological developments into production, by manufacturing targeted food preparations designed to allow food processing companies formulate new products or reformulate nutritionally poor existing products. Expergo is a SME specialised in development and optimization of food products, particularly sensory analysis and consumer research and will perform sensory analysis and consumer acceptance trials for the selection of newly developed soy-based functional ingredients for foods with improved texture, taste and nutritional profile. Moreover, Expergo will provide support for the technology transfer from the research units to producers.
Project ID: 
9 936
Start date: 
Project Duration: 
Project costs: 
950 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Technologies for the food industry
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.