New Chickpea Protein Launched in North America

Ingredient technology company Nutriati and exclusive commercialization partner PLT Health Solutions have introduced a new chickpea protein solution to North American food, beverage and supplements markets, touted as being able to take the “pain out of formulating with plant protein.” Called Artesa Chickpea Protein, the ingredient is reportedly the first chickpea-based protein concentrate available in commercial quantities. The Artesa Chickpea Protein concentrate has a minimum protein content of 60 percent, and a fiber content of 14 percent – which the companies report is quite high compared to existing dairy and plant proteins that usually top out at around 2 percent fiber.

Nutriati reports it re-engineered the manufacturing process for Artesa to address some of the main “pain points” related to formulating with plant proteins – starting with ingredient taste and overall in-product sensory experience.

Consumer testing has shown that Artesa can approach the sensory and formulating experience of dairy proteins in the areas of taste, texture, product structure and mouthfeel. The small, uniform particle size of Artesa Chickpea Protein is responsible for formulating benefits that include enhanced dissolution and suspendability, excellent foaming and emulsifying properties and faster, easier processing with less waste than occurs with other leading plant proteins.

In beverages, this small particle size enhances dissolution and suspension of the ingredient in liquids and reduces sedimentation that is a common issue for plant proteins – particularly in higher pH beverages where ‘crash out’ can occur.

In low moisture applications like bakery, the small particle size reduces viscosity of formulations which can help prevent production bottlenecks and reduce non-spec products and waste.

Artesa Chickpea Protein also reportedly has high water binding capacity and foaming and emulsification properties that other plant proteins don’t – which can be critical to processing efficiency, shelf-life and final product quality.

According to Richard Kelly, CEO and Co-Founder of Nutriati, the company’s selection of the chickpea as the source for its plant protein offering is based on a range of factors – from taste and processability to its high sustainability.

“The chickpea gets excellent marks when it comes to sustainability. Chickpeas require significantly lower use of chemical fertilizers, water and pesticides in production. They also have the lowest carbon footprint of any protein starting materials and contribute to healthier soils,” he says.

“Hummus introduced mainstream America to the chickpea as a food two decades ago, and consumers haven’t looked back. Forty percent of all chickpea-based food product introductions over the last 15 years occurred in 2016 and 2017 and 2016 saw a 150 percent increase in chickpea-based snack introductions. We think chickpeas are a great ingredient for the future of food,” he says.

Nutriati’s production process is protected by intellectual property, and according to the companies, it differs significantly from traditional plant protein processes that rely on high amounts of water, acids and precipitation.

According to Nutriati Co-Founder and Chief Innovation Officer Michael Spinelli, Artesa Chickpea Protein was developed to solve production issues that have accompanied attempts to increase the amount of plant protein in foods and beverages. “Among food and beverage producers, stories of struggles with plant protein are pretty common. Taste issues are often solved via the use of masking agents or added sweeteners. Sometimes processing aids or even facility retrofits are required to handle high protein and gluten-free products,” he says.

“We have found that recipes featuring Artesa Chickpea Protein can meet or even surpass gold standard formulations for taste, texture and other sensory aspects in a range of product applications. We have also found that people can up the boundaries of protein delivered per serving over anything that has been possible with plant-based ingredients with Artesa and still meet consumer expectations for organoleptics,” he adds.

Source: Nutrition Insight

In Pictures: Quick Home-made Meals Packed with Protein

Veggie Spaghetti and Meatballs

Tuna and Cheddar Wraps

Baked Breaded Sole With Baby Potatoes and Broccoli

Grilled Ahi Tuna Over Mashed Cauliflower

Turkey Tacos

Spinach Tomato Frittata

Understanding the Power of Honey Through Its Proteins

Honey is a culinary staple that can be found in kitchens around the world. Humans have used honey throughout history, and its long shelf life and medicinal properties make it a unique, multipurpose natural product. Although it seems that a lot is known about the sweet substance, surprisingly little is known about its proteins. Now, researchers report in ACS’ Journal of Natural Products new data on honey proteins that could lead to new medicinal applications.

The European honeybee, Apis mellifera Linnaeus, creates its signature product by collecting nectar from various plants and taking it back to the hive, where it is “ripened” and turned into a viscous, sugary substance. Honey is a highly valued food product and has been touted as a natural remedy for wounds, respiratory infections and other ailments. Because of its economic importance, the product has been a target of counterfeiters, who sometimes add pollens or other substances to misrepresent the country of origin or the plant that the honey was made from. Thus, many studies have been conducted on the chemical makeup of honey, though not much has been done to identify its proteins. That’s mostly because the proteins are present in tiny amounts, making analysis difficult. So, Tomas Erban and colleagues took on this challenge by conducting a proteomic analysis of several honeys.

The researchers analyzed the proteomes of thirteen different honeys, most of which came from the Czech Republic. Using mass spectrometry, the team identified known and previously unreported proteins and determined their amounts in each sample. The samples contained a similar ratio of proteins, though the total amount of protein varied. The researchers also found proteins previously unreported in honey, such as hymenopaectin, which plays a role in the sweet substance’s antimicrobial properties. In addition, the results shed new light on various allergens that are present, and this knowledge could facilitate further investigations into the treatment of honey and bee allergies.

Source: American Chemical Society

The Future of Protein Might be ‘Gas Fermentation,’ or Growing Food Out of Thin Air

Catherine Lamb wrote . . . . . . . . .

We know that relying on animals — especially methane-producing cows — for the bulk of our protein is unsustainable. But creating protein alternatives in labs or out of plants can also have a significant environmental cost.

What about if we nixed the agricultural bits altogether and just made protein out naturally occuring elements in the air around us? Sounds like science fiction, but Finnish company Solar Foods is working to do just that. The company is creating a new platform for food production using two inputs: air and electricity.

Solar Foods’ technology captures CO2 and water from the air and introduces them to genetically modified bacteria, which form single-celled proteins the company calls ‘Solein.’

Founded in 2017, Solar Foods came about when its CEO Pasi Vainikka, who was in charge of the largest renewable energy resource program in Finland, wanted to develop new technology to push the world towards carbon neutrality. He discovered that one big way to sequester carbon was by making it into food.

As Vainikka explained it, their technology is similar to what Impossible Foods is doing to create its heme or how Perfect Day is making milk without cows. Only instead of feeding sugar solutions to the microbes, as those two startups are doing, Solar Foods feeds them carbon dioxide and hydrogen extracted from the air.

Motif Ingredients and Sustainable Bioproducts are two other companies using microbes to spin out protein, though they also don’t rely on CO2 as the main input. “We are a branch parallel to [them],” said Vainikka. “Not sugar fermentation, but gas fermentation.”

Not the sexiest of names, admittedly. For the less nerdy folks, though, Vainikka said he also calls their process “making food from air.” In fact, visit the Solar Foods lab in Finland and you (yes, you) could actually breathe into their device and make protein.

By disconnecting completely from agriculture, animal and otherwise, Solar Foods can produce protein with a negligable environmental footprint. As it’s not reliant on irrigation, feed, or weather, Solar Foods’ production capacity is also pretty much indefinite.

The technology is way beyond the theoretical stage. As of now, Solar Foods can produce one kilogram of protein per day. The company is also in the early stages of constructing a full-scale factory, filing for patents on their organisms, and starting food application tests.

It raised €2 million (~$2,273,000) in funding from Lifeline Ventures last year. In terms of timing, the company plans to have a global commercial launch of Solein in 2021 and, by 2022, is hoping to scale up to produce enough protein for 50 million meals per year.

Vainikka may have established Solar Foods to make the Earth carbon neutral, but one of the main applications for his technology is actually space travel. The company is working with the European Space Agency to make a prototype device which could theoretically be used to sustain astronauts on a mission to Mars.

Launching their technology into outer space makes things a lot more complicated for Solar Foods. To function on a spacecraft their protein has to last seven years, according to Vainikka. Since the contained environment of a spaceship is a closed loop, the platform will also have to function off of recirculated water and CO2 sourced from inside the ship, as well as recycled energy. “We need super efficient circulation of these factors,” explained Vainikka.

Here on Earth, Vainikka hasn’t yet decided on the best application for Solein. It might be used in a meal replacement product à la Soylent, or even in the Impossible burger as a more sustainable alternative to soy. He told us that Solar Foods will be a protein supplier for food producers and isn’t looking to create their own branded consumer goods.

Gas fermentation may sound kind of out there, but actually Solar Foods is part of a nascent group of startups using carbon dioxide and electricity to make food. Based in San Francisco, Kiverdi is using microbes to upcycle CO2 into edible products like palm oils and proteins. Nearby, Novo Nutrients is leveraging a similar technology to turn CO2 into feed for aquaculture farms. In the U.K., Deep Branch Biotechnology is also focused on animal feed, making single cell proteins out of CO2 in industrial waste gas. Vainikka also pointed out a few university research groups, including ones in Ghent and Nottingham, U.K., which are working on a similar technology.

While gas fermentation makes a lot of sense for space travel, I could also see it having a significant environmental effect here on Earth. Demand for protein is skyrocketing: projects that the global protein market will grow from $49.8 billion in 2019 to $70.7 billion in 2025. The world’s population is also projected to hit almost 10 billion by 2050. Combine those, and it means we’ll need to find protein wherever we can — especially if it can replace less sustainable ingredients (like meat) and sequester carbon in the process.

Source: The Spoon

Study Suggests Whey Protein Best for Seniors Rebuilding Muscle

While exercise buffs have long used protein supplements to gain muscle, new research from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, suggests one protein source in particular, whey protein, is most effective for seniors struggling to rebuild muscle lost from inactivity associated with illness or long hospital stays.

The study, published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, compared the impact of different forms of protein supplements on older adults, a growing population challenged by the loss of muscle and strength, or sarcopenia, which in turn can affect balance, gait, and the ability to perform the simple tasks of everyday life.

Researchers found that protein didn’t stop lean muscle loss caused by inactivity; however, whey supplements helped to rebuild muscle once the participants’ activities resumed.

“The important message here is that not all proteins are created equal. Whey is one of the highest-quality proteins and is ideal for older persons,” says Stuart Phillips, PhD, senior author on the paper and a professor of kinesiology at McMaster.

Researchers set out to compare the impact of whey vs collagen protein on muscle loss during periods of inactivity and then recovery.

Whey is considered a high-quality or “complete” protein, meaning it’s rich in all essential amino acids and is higher in leucine, one of the essential amino acids the body cannot make itself and therefore must derive from food.

Collagen peptides, by comparison, are much lower in their leucine content and lack or are low in essential amino acids.

For the study, researchers recruited men and women who were nonsmokers, didn’t have diabetes, and were between the ages of 65 and 80. One group of subjects consumed whey protein, the other collagen peptides, throughout the study.

For a five-week period, their diet was controlled, including a two-week time frame where their daily steps were restricted to 750 per day and their calorie intake reduced by 500 kcal per day, conditions that might mimic what older people often experience during a hospital stay.

Participants returned to normal activity levels during a one-week recovery period.

The team had predicted that the collagen peptide group would experience significantly greater muscle loss than the whey protein group, but that didn’t happen. Both groups lost the same amount of muscle.

“While we already know that complete protein sources are more potent for stimulating building processes we were surprised to discover that after two weeks of limiting steps among the participants, there were no apparent differences in muscle loss between the two groups,” says Sara Oikawa, lead author and a graduate student in the department of kinesiology at McMaster.

While protein was ineffective in mitigating muscle loss, researchers say, when participants returned to normal, muscle-building activity, the whey group recovered more skeletal muscle.

“When we consider measures that can be taken to help seniors as they age, it’s clear that whey is an important ingredient. Conversely, we should avoid collagen in formulations targeting older people,” Oikawa says.

In future research, Oikawa plans to focus on women specifically, who tend to experience greater difficulties in rebuilding strength.

Source: McMaster University