Development and characterisation of a novel leguminous ingredient and assessment of its suitability for use in functional food products

Lead Research Organisation: King's College London
Department Name: Diabetes & Nutritional Sciences

Abstract

Pulses are an affordable source of starch, protein and fibre and have slow-release properties of potential benefit to glycaemic control and lower-bowel health, but are underutilised in the UK. With the increasing prevalence of cardiometabolic diseases, there is an emerging market for functional food; however, few products exist which exploit the naturally beneficial properties of pulses. This project builds on new research showing that a novel method of processing pulses results in a versatile food ingredient with enhanced nutritional properties. The focus of this project is to develop a pilot-scale process for the industrial manufacture of this unique ingredient, and subsequently evaluating the feasibility and capacity to incorporate this ingredient into a range of food products. Ultimately, this project could lead to the development of a new generation of functional foods, suitable for the general public, but specifically designed to deliver slow-release energy and prebiotic effects.
 
Description One important finding of this project is that the novel food ingredient can be manufactured on an industrial scale while still retaining desirable nutritional properties (e.g. functional dietary fibre). Manufacturing the ingredient on a large scale also enabled us to produce enough ingredient for early 'baking trials'. In these trials, the ingredient was incorporated at relatively high doses into sweet and savoury products, and shown to have desirable sensory characteristics.

Overall, the outcome of the final dissemination and evaluation meeting was that there was still a clear commercialisation potential for this ingredient and that some further work would be needed to finalise the translation of this research. Independent IP solicitors have also confirmed that the ingredient is novel and inventive, and we are working to prepare a patent for protection of the ingredient and the process by which it is produced.
Exploitation Route The novel leguminous ingredient produced on an industrial scale has retained nutritional properties originally observed in the laboratory. The product has potential use as an ingredient in a range of foods and would be of interest to a number of sectors but particularly the agriculture, food and healthcare sectors. It is clear that further work is needed to assess the full nutritional properties and chemical and physical characteristics of this ingredient, both on its own and in a range of foods, when processed under a broader range of commercial processing conditions. Based on our scientific, commercial and IP evaluations, we concluded that one of the primary barriers to commercialisation is a lack of understanding of ingredient functionality within different processed food products, and incomplete evidence for its bio-efficacy with regard to delivering beneficial health effects. To overcome this barrier, we were awarded a BBSRC Super Follow-on grant to take forward our initial research findings. The aims of this project, which started in 2017, are to (a) advance our mechanistic understand of how the leguminous ingredient resists processing and digestion and thus maintains its nutritional properties, (b) assess its compatibility with different food product categories; and (c) select and pursue the most promising opportunities for manufacture, marketing and commercialisation of a novel ingredient with demonstrable health benefits.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

 
Description Our initial research findings have shown that the novel leguminous ingredient can be scaled up on an industrial scale without losing desirable nutritional properties (e.g. retention of functional dietary fibre and resistant starch for improving blood glucose control and gut health). The long-term goal in the design of a novel ingredient for developing new functional food products would be to improve public health, such as limiting the risk of developing obesity and cardiometabolic disease (e.g. type 2 diabetes). We have also demonstrated that the ingredient can be successfully incorporated into a range of sweet and savoury food products. One economic benefit of this food ingredient would be its commercial impact, notably in the agricultural, food and healthcare sectors. To increase the likelihood of commercialising this novel ingredient we need to have a deeper understanding of the functional properties of this ingredient, especially under commercial processing conditions and when incorporated into different food products. Any future food products will need to be tested in human metabolic studies. To achieve this and to build on our initial laboratory research findings and pilot-scale processing trials, we have been awarded a BBSRC Super Follow-on grant, which began in 2017, to take this project forward. One of the main aims of this current project is to improve our understanding of the biological mechanisms and efficacy of the ingredient and the food products derived from it, to see if the ingredient maintains its nutritional properties when incorporated into a broad range of food products and processed under a broad range of processing conditions. Other aims include a technological and sensory evaluation of the ingredient in assessing its compatibility with different food product categories. This will allow us to select and pursue the most promising opportunities for manufacture, marketing and commercialisation of a novel ingredient with demonstrable health benefits. Between 2018-20 several meetings have been held between the researchers and the food industry to investigate potential food products that could be produced with the new ingredients (e.g. staple cereal products). Recent meetings with industry have led to discussions about using the new ingredient in gluten-free bread products.
First Year Of Impact 2016
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Education,Healthcare,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology
Impact Types Economic

 
Description BBSRC Follow-On grant
Amount £203,000 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/M021076/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2015 
End 05/2016
 
Description BBSRC IAA
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/S506679/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 01/2019 
End 04/2019
 
Description QIB PoC Fund
Amount £9,278 (GBP)
Organisation Quadram Institute Bioscience 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 03/2019 
End 06/2019
 
Description Super Follow On
Amount £948,864 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/P023770/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 05/2018 
End 05/2020
 
Description CE Development and characterisation of a functional food ingredient 
Organisation New-Food Innovation Ltd
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Physical and chemical characterisation of the functional food ingredient.
Collaborator Contribution New-Food Innovation Ltd (NFI) were involved in developing the technology for processing the functional food ingredient and were also involved in evaluating the safety of the product (e.g. microbiological assessment).
Impact A novel food ingredient with enhanced nutritional properties has been produced using commercial food processing technology.
Start Year 2015
 
Description Postprandial responses 
Organisation Imperial College London
Department Department of Medicine
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The research team provided a novel material and intellectual input regarding the properties of this material and also provided gut hormone analysis kits which added value to interpretation of collaborative research findings.
Collaborator Contribution ICL collaborators included the novel material in a 3-meal randomized cross-over acute postprandial study in healthy subjects and collected samples for analysis of glucose, insulin and gut hormones. QIB provided expertise and specialist analysis of the test meals used (with and without novel material) in terms of starch digestibility and micro structure.
Impact Multidisciplinary collaboration: Disciplines of physiology and clinical nutrition/dietetics provided by collaborator; Biochemistry and food science provided by researchers at KCL and QIB.
Start Year 2016
 
Description Postprandial responses 
Organisation Quadram Institute Bioscience
Department Food & Health Programme
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution The research team provided a novel material and intellectual input regarding the properties of this material and also provided gut hormone analysis kits which added value to interpretation of collaborative research findings.
Collaborator Contribution ICL collaborators included the novel material in a 3-meal randomized cross-over acute postprandial study in healthy subjects and collected samples for analysis of glucose, insulin and gut hormones. QIB provided expertise and specialist analysis of the test meals used (with and without novel material) in terms of starch digestibility and micro structure.
Impact Multidisciplinary collaboration: Disciplines of physiology and clinical nutrition/dietetics provided by collaborator; Biochemistry and food science provided by researchers at KCL and QIB.
Start Year 2016
 
Title MEDIUM/LOW GLYCAEMIC INDEX PRODUCTS AND METHODS 
Description The invention relates to a process comprising (a) providing a quantity of plant material; (b) heating the material of (a) in aqueous medium to a temperature of 75 to 105 ºC; (c) physically disrupting the material of (b); (d) processing the physically disrupted material of (c) to enrich for cells and/or cell clusters; and (e) drying the material of (d). The invention also relates to a product, which comprises at least 30% or more intact plant cells, which comprises 15% or less water by weight, which has a particle size in the range 75 - 500 µm, characterised in that the product comprises at least 30% resistant starch as a proportion of total starch. The invention also relates to foodstuffs. 
IP Reference WO2019155190 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2019
Licensed No
Impact It is still too early to report on any impact, but progress has been made in identifying potential food products that could be developed using the novel legume powder ingredient.
 
Title PulseON 
Description A graphical design and trademark for PulseON - a new functional food ingredient. 
IP Reference  
Protection Trade Mark
Year Protection Granted 2019
Licensed No
Impact The trademark is already being used to aid communication with consumers/industry, but it is too early to report on the impact of this.
 
Description Carbohydrate Quality (Texcoco) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact This activity was intended to raise awareness of nutritional assessment and quality of carbohydrates, and encourage interactions between breeders, food processing experts and nutritionists/clinicians to achieve healthier carbohydrate foods. Mainly the audience was from CIMMYT and many were unaware of some of the key concepts presented. This stimulated discussion and requests for further information and guidance regarding methods of carbohydrate quality assessment.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Presentation at Food Matters Live 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Presented application of research findings to a mixed audience of approximately 30 people. This stimulated questions and discussion with knowledge exchanged between audience members from different background.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
 
Description Westminster Health Forum Keynote Seminar: Improving diabetes outcomes 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact The meeting was a review and discussion about diabetes care policy. Own views about how science can influence policy were changed - the needs of diabetes patients are so urgent that the policy and practice is changes before the science. This will impact on future pathways to impact plans for research with applications in diabetes care.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019