New technologies may open up oilseed waste as source of vegetable proteins, suggests review

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Smarter processing of industrial by-products from oilseed oil production could lead to more sustain able production of value-added vegetable proteins, suggests a new academic review.

The report – published in the Journal of Food Engineering​ – noted that many oilseed plants used for the production of vegetable oil are also natural sources of vegetable proteins, and as such have great nutritional value. The reviewers explained that the ‘total use’ of the oilseeds meals “implies the valorisation of their protein fraction, creating value-added products destined for the food, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industries.”

“It is possible to produce innumerous added-value proteins products from industrial by-products of oilseed oil production with applications in food and pharmaceutical industries, developing and applying innovative technologies providing environmentally sustainable solutions for agriculture and agro-industry,”​ said the researchers, led by Ivo Rodrigues from the Polytechnic Institute of Coimbra, Portugal.

“The functional properties of the protein isolates can be increased through chemical, physical and enzymatic modifications, enhancing the solubility, emulsion and foam capacity and stability, increasing the nutritional value, producing bioactive peptides and isolate amino acids amongst others, and thus providing compounds of increased value,”​ they added.

Oilseed proteins

Oilseeds plants are plants that containing seeds or fruits with a high level of oils and other food fat, used as an energy reserve. They also possess balanced quantities of carbohydrates, fats and proteins –and are characterized not only by their rich composition in oils, but also by their high level of proteins.

“Oil can be extracted from the seeds of these by plants using the appropriate technology, which can then be used in human food and in the production of biodiesel, resulting in a high protein fat-free meal ... This meal can be valorised and used in human or animal food,”​ said Rodrigues and his team.

The review also noted several techniques and methodologies used to extract and isolate plant proteins, and their formulation for specific applications – including measures to minimise the presence of anti-nutritional or toxic compounds in the isolates.

Biodiesel by-product

Rodrigues and his colleagues explained that an increase in oilseed production, to satisfy the needs of biodiesel “is inevitable.”

They said such an increase will bring a resultant increase in agricultural and industrial by-products that have a high potential for use in other industries.

“However, it will be essential to develop innovative technologies, providing environmentally sustainable solutions for agriculture and agro-industry ​[to process such by-products],”​ suggested the reviewers.

Source: Journal of Food Engineering
Published online ahead of print, doi: 10.1016/j.jfoodeng.2011.10.027
“Isolation and valorisation of vegetable proteins from oilseed plants: methods, limitations and potential”
Authors: I.M. Rodrigues, J.F.J. Coelho, M.G.V.S. Carvalho

Related topics: Science, Sustainability, Fats & oils, Proteins

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