Our Aim

Impact of Alternative Protein Resources on Land Use and Sustainability Indicators

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.

Teagasc have been using globally accepted standards for determination of protein and its components, across its three centres at Moorepark (Grassland), Oakpark (Cereals) and Ashtown (Marine) for many years and coupled with NUIM an UL will create a platform for protein characterisation. In vitro gastro-intestinal (GI) digestion (INFOGEST) will be performed with protein products of Task 2 (extracted in Task 3). The standardised, static in vitro digestion method (INFOGEST method) [Brodkorb et al. Nature Protocol 2019] is the academic and industry standard to simulate in vitro GI digestion of food. In addition, in vitro digestion experiments can add significantly to the understanding of the digestion process, mechanism, kinetics, process-induced changes, bioaccessibility and bio-availability when using state- of-the-art cell culture absorption models.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the partners on this task?

University of Limerick will investigate the presence of ‘anti-nutritional’ factors, which are a range of molecules that inhibit key enzymes associated with metabolism of food constituents, e.g., proteinases and carbohydrases (α-amylase). The role of these inhibitors is the subject of much speculation. However, much interest has focused on the potential of plant derived protease inhibitors to confer ‘anti-nutritional’ properties to plant protein extract/isolates.

In vivo bio-accessibility and bio-availability of proteins / peptides will be accessed using the Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS) to address the individual dietary amino acid digestibility. In addition, the team at Queens University Belfast will evaluate human metabolic responses to the consumption of novel plant/marine protein sources selected in Task 2 and processed in Task 3.