Scientists develop new way of getting meat substitutes from vegetables

A researcher at Immanuel Kant Baltic Federal University (BFU) in Kaliningrad, in Northwest Russia, teamed up with Chinese colleagues in an effort to develop a new method of obtaining vegetal meat analogs.

Meat substitutes have been increasingly in focus globally. Those vegetal protein products that have highly valuable amino acids while containing no cholesterol could be best textured by extrusion. In this method of raw material processing, protein molecules have their secondary bonds destroyed, thus improving digestibility.

High humidity extrusion technology has been widely used lately, a way of obtaining a fibrous meat-like formation from vegetable proteins. The properties of vegetal meat analogs can be varied with food additives, such as wheat gluten.

Olga Babich of Kant BFU partnered with several Chinese researchers in order to study interdependence between external factors, such as humidity concentration and wheat gluten content, and the key properties of an extrusion-produced meat substitute. The team found that the retention of volatile aromatic substances, microstructure, humidity distribution and the protein’s secondary structuring, among other crucial characteristics, could be controlled.

There has been a considerable number of research efforts globally, aimed at improving extrusion and thus rectifying taste and texture properties of meat substitutes. Most have been fragmented, though, and have resulted in no tangible progress.

This story initially appeared in Marchmont Innovation News, Russia’s daily business news website.

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