The Project

An overview of the tasks that make up U-Protein

TASK 1Land Use and Sustainability

Impact of Alternative Protein Resources on Land Use and Sustainability Indicators

Task 1 aims to determine and model Land use, environment and biodiversity parameters associated with different combinations of protein resources identified in Task 2.   This Task is separated into two components:

1) application of sustainability indicators including carbon footprint at farm level and 2) land use and resource optimisation on a large scale. The relationship between Land use and biodiversity, yield of extractable high quality protein, other valuable nutrients and functional compounds from the residual biomass will be expressed per hectar of land. Management of these natural protein resources, potential return on investment and the impact on the environment will be factored into the model with carbon footprint been a key output from the model.

TASK 2Proteins from Crops and Marine Sources

This Task provides for the identification of protein sources

The expertise of the researchers will be used to provide information from the literature and previous experiments on the chemical composition of residual biomass that could remain after the protein has been extracted from its source.

The information will guide the selection of the microbiome / enzyme mix to use in the biotransformation (Task 4) which will ultimately determine the extent of circularity and capability to create new value streams.

TASK 3Protein Processing

Task 3 has multiple objectives and as is key within the U-Protein project

The data and outputs generated from this Task will be used as an input for other Tasks, in brief the objectives for this Task can be summarised as follows;

To develop processing unit operations for extraction, fractionation, concentration, and drying of protein and residual biomass materials generated within the programme.

TASK 4Biorefinery/Biotransformation

Biorefinery Processes for Biotransformation of Residual Biomass from Protein resources

This task will examine the valorisation of crop and marine based biomass material to novel or renewable products through microbial transformation. The task is split into two parts: 1) conversion of biomass into bio-materials suitable for food applications carried out at the Teagasc Moorepark site and 2) conversion of biomass for non- food applications carried out at NUIG (Galway University).

TASK 5Protein Profiling

Profiling Protein and other nutrients from Crop and Marine resources

This Task aims to establish / utilise existing methodologies for accurate measurement and characterisation of protein extracted from, crop (including grassland) and marine and their respective residual biomass. A key consideration is the nitrogen conversion factor used for determination of protein in food.

The research collaboration between Teagasc Moorepark, NUI Maynooth, University of Limerick (UL) and Queens University Belfast will provide world leading experience and capability for measurement and characterisation of proteins / peptides / amino acids in food material.

TASK 6Incorporation of alternative proteins into new and existing foodstuffs

This Task provides for the identification of protein sources

Unlike carbohydrate and fat which can be stored within the body, daily dietary protein is essential to maintain the correct levels of amino acids for optimum health and support growth. Provision of the novel plant-based protein ingredients into a variety of food formulations that are popular and acceptable will encourage uptake of ingredients by processors and provide value to industry.