New protein separation technology moves closer: Solae

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Solae, European union, Research

Protein extraction breakthrough?
Protein extraction breakthrough?
A new process could help to selectively separate out high-value protein components in foods such as soy and thus produce higher purities and yields with high nutritional value, at cost-savings, says Solae.

The EU funded project MagPro2Life​ – being led by Solae – hopes to develop a novel technology for isolating protein components with magnets using specially produced particles.

Solae has now announced the accomplishment of two major milestones in the development process: the scale-up of a pilot scale magnetic centrifugation process, and the granting of multiple patents (to DuPont) for both the process and equipment.

The project will develop new technologies and processes using the ‘smart magnetic particles’ to extract beneficial components during the processing of soy for food and pharmaceutical applications.

“Achievement of these milestones is significant because this novel technology has never been applied in the food industry,”​ said Torkel Rhenman, CEO Solae.

"This technology, even though in the early stages, could be a game-changer for how proteins are separated, resulting in enhanced functionality and nutrition,”​ he explained.

"It could be very flexible in separating many different protein sources, producing proteins with unique properties and health benefits."


Solae said the project hopes to bring healthy, high value food to consumers by using smart particles and a unique magnetic separation processes.

“This project will lead to new specialty ingredients that no one is able to economically produce with the current technology,”​ said Sarah Martin, senior director of applied research at Solae.

“The new process will allow production of specialty proteins for significantly lower than the current cost of production,”​ she explained.

For example, Solae said that in a soy or fermentation broth, it is currently a challenge to separate small amounts of beneficial proteins – and is therefore difficult to produce high purities economically.

Project details

Now half-way through the €10m research and development venture, the MagPro2Life project aims to develop advanced magnetic nano-particles that may deliver new smart processes and products for the food industry.

The project is funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union (EU) Commission and includes researchers from Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K.

The consortium brings together universities, research institutes, subject matter experts and enterprises – and is coordinated by Solae.

The project officially began in July 2009 and will run until 2013.

Related topics: Science

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