Foaming and fat replacer ingredients

Lead Research Organisation: Heriot-Watt University
Department Name: Sch of Life Sciences


Obesity related illness presents a huge financial and social challenge to Governments and health services in the UK, EU
and around the world. The UK House of Commons Health Select Committee calculated that in 2002 clinical obesity cost
the English economy somewhere between £3.3-3.7 billion per annum. A similar calculation in 2006 by the EU commission
estimated that between 59 billion Euros and 236 billion Euros per annum or 7-28% of the total healthcare budget of the
member states was spent on the consequences of obesity related illness. It is estimated that by 2050 obesity will affect
60% of the UK population. If this problem is not addressed it will result in an unprecedented and possibly unsustainable
drain on healthcare resources in the UK. Tackling this huge problem will require a multi faceted approach, not least of
which will be attempts to modify the eating behaviour of large parts of the population. Food manufacturers have been
proactive in this respect by developing a range of low or reduced fat foods to replace less healthy alternatives. However,
reduced fat foods at present have low uptake by consumers and make little profit for industry. Market studies show that
consumers will not choose healthier food and drink products that have inferior taste or mouth feel to the less healthy
equivalent. In this study we aim to develop protein-based ingredients and enabling technologies for the formulation of foods
with reduced energy density while providing stability and mouth feel that are equivalent or improved compared to the
original versions. We will use a multi-scale approach that aims both to understand the microscopic role played by novel fat
replacers and emulsifiers, how these will impact on structure at the colloidal level, and how this determines texture in the
whole food. This will allow us to broaden our specific approach into a general strategy that can be applied to a wider range
of food products

Planned Impact

The ability to formulate and manufacture foods with a reduced energy density, which at the same time have sensory
properties closely matching those of the normal fat product, will have a large financial impact for the partner companies and
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Proposal original proforma document
Academic Beneficiaries
Describe who will benefit from the research [up to 4000 chars].
social and health benefits to the UK as a whole. Also, development of underpinning technology to facilitate production of
functional fat replacer ingredients would place the two academic partners at the forefront of the application of fundamental
research concepts to the intelligent design of food protein ingredients.
We have identified a number of benefits from this research that would impact on the partner organisations, the food
industry and society as a whole.
Economic: supply of commercially valuable protein prototypes from 2nd year of project resulting in potential additional
annual income stream building up to at least £400 million at (£1000/ton) (estimated by Premier Foods). Premier Foods,
Marlow Foods, Hlere and Mantons's will extend their product range during and after completion of the project. All partners
estimate that this will benefit them for at least 10 years after product launch. Nandi Proteins and Wright Agri Industry Ltd.
will benefit for at least 10 years after completion of the project by licensing fees and royalties.
Technical: new processes and products will be generated and patented. New methods for studying the formation of
structure in reduced fat products will be developed and applied to relevant systems. Agreement of all consortium members
will be sought prior to publication of the fundamental aspects of the project, to avoid jeopardizing granting of patents on
novel technologies and products arising from the project.
Environmental: reducing waste from food manufacturing plants andransforming waste into high value ingredients. We will
look at the modification of functional properties of food grade proteins that have traditionally been thought of as waste,
including pot ale or spent grain in brewing/distilling and a mycoprotein rich waste stream from Quorn manufacture (Marlow
Foods) that has already shown promise as a foaming ingredient. The technology to turn these in to useful functional food
proteins would demonstrate that so-called waste proteins can be converted to economically viable products, which would
open up the opportunity to apply the technology to other waste protein streams.
Social: the project will contribute to improve quality of life by reducing obesity of consumers which will come to effect within
1 year of completion of the project and will last as long as the novel ingredients and products are on the market. This is
potentially the most important impact of all given the huge economic cost to the UK of obesity related illness. We recognise
that the contributory factors for obesity are many and complex, and that overeating/eating energy rich foods is only one of
them. However, the manufacture of reduced energy density foods that look, taste and have the same texture as the higher
energy density equivalents could have a signiifcant impact on the problem.
Collaborative: the collaborative nature of the project will provide benefits to all partners. Industrial partners will gain access
to equipment and expertise which is generally not available within their own organisations. This will be of particular benefit
to the SME members of the consortium. Similarly, at a time of economic downturn when research budgets are tight, the
larger companies will gain access to highly innovative and novel ideas generated by the Universities and SME's. The
collaboration between HWU and UoE is in the spirit of the Scottish Universities Industry Innovation Network for Food and
Drink research pooling project, and will help establish Edinburgh as a major Scottish and UK centre for food research in
this area, and should lead to many years of collaborative food research outwith the current project.


10 25 50
Description This project is concerned with understanding how proteins give rise to structure and texture in foods. In particular we want to find ways to improve or change the performance of these proteins so that they can be used in lower concentrations which give a cost saving to the manufacturer, or impart new properties such as fat replacement. A number of proteins have been investigated which have either been modified using a process that alters their structure in a controlled way, or which have been derived from an unusual source such as the waste by-product stream from another food manufacturing process. The proteins studied are, milk whey proteins, skim milk proteins, milk protein concentrate, egg proteins (whole egg, egg yolk and egg white), a protein containing waste stream from a fungal food product manufacturing process. Improvements in the functional properties are achieved by modification of the proteins using two patented processes provided by Nandi Proteins, one of the industrial collaborators. These involve either a partial denaturation and controlled aggregation of the proteins, or a controlled reaction between protein and sugars to form a protein-oligosaccharide conjugate.

Finding from the project to date include,

. partially denatured milk proteins can be used as fat replacers/mimetics
• partially denatured milk whey proteins can be used to partially replace egg protein in model systems without significant loss of functionality. Mixtures of 50% egg and 50% whey protein show the same emulsifying ability, foaming ability and gelation characteristics as are found with 100% egg protein. This opens up the possibility of using partially denatured whey protein as an egg replacer. One problem facing food manufacturers is the increasing cost of egg protein ingredients, which are used as binding agents in many foods due to their gelling properties.

• conjugation of milk proteins with galacto-oligosaccharide improves the foaming and emulsifying ability of skim milk powder, and to a lesser degree milk protein concentrate, but has no effect on whey protein concentrate.

• We have isolated and purified a fungal protein stream that has extremely high emulsifying ability.

Ultra-filtration was carried out on the crude fungal protein waste stream to separate high and low molecular weight (MW) proteins and concentrate these protein fractions on a laboratory scale. The fungal biomass containing fermenter broth was centrifuged to analyse both its supernatant and cell fractions.
Foaming, emulsifying and rheological properties (viscosity, gelation) were assessed using a range of techniques on the broth and centrate samples. In parallel the protein composition of the samples was analysed by proteomics (LC/MSMS) and SDS/Native-PAGE. A commercial whey protein concentrate (WPC) product was used as control.

• The broth deposit and high MW waste fraction showed outstanding foaming stability in comparison with the WPC control and other samples.
• Emulsions stabilised with the high MW waste fraction displayed lower oil droplet sizes and higher stability than the control and other samples.
• Solutions and oil emulsions of high MW waste fraction showed higher viscosities than the WPC control and other samples.
• The high MW waste fraction displayed a lower gelation point than the WPC control and its gel showed a higher visco-elasticity profile than the control and other samples.
• Proteomic and electrophoretic analyses revealed a concentration of surfactant-like proteins in the functional fraction .

Overall these results highlighted the functional potential of the fermented broth and waste co-product, which could result from the presence of aggregated functional proteins and/or functionality imparted by the fungal cells themselves.
Following this initial study the consortium is now interested in assessing the feasibility of producing and extracting functional mycoprotein on a large scale for use as functional ingredient (fat replacer, animal protein replacer) in innovative food products.
Exploitation Route Partially denatured proteins - work relating to the partial denaturation process in general will be exploited in collaboration with Nandi Proteins. We have recently been awarded a KTP project to investigate further the link between partially denatured protein structure and functional properties, with the aim of understanding in more detail how processing can be used to control the functional properties of these proteins.
As a result of the expertise we have gained in waste protein utilization, we have been awarded a second KTP project with a major food manufacturer in Scotland to develop protein mimetics for replacement of key ingredients in their food formulations.
Egg protein-milk protein mixtures - work continues on this. Exploitation will be in collaboration with Wright-Agri and an industrial collaborators on this project.

Fungal Protein products - work continues on this. Exploitation of this work will be in collaboration with the company supplying the waste stream. The company view development of protein products from their waste stream as a longer term goal. To this end we have applied for and been awarded two Innovate UK grants to follow up the separation and exploitation of the fungal proteins. One is funded through the Industrial Biotechnology Catalyst, the second through the sustainable supply chain management call. The IB catalyst grant will further explore the potential of fungal proteins as food ingredients, by following changes in the proteome of the waste stream throughout the course of a 32 day fermentation cycle. This will help to identify when particular proteins are expressed by the organism, and how this impacts on the functional properties as food ingredients. In parallel to this, we will also work to identify the optimum separation process for the proteins in the waste stream. In the second IUK project, which will follow on from the IB catalyst project, we will scale up the separation and purification of the fungal proteins to produce 100g-kg quantities and these will be tested for functionality in the products of the industrial collaborators. If successful, we aim to demonstrate the feasibility of extracting and exploiting valuable protein from the fungal process waste stream (currently approx. 500000 cubic meters per year).
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Pharmaceuticals and Medical Biotechnology

Description The knowledge gained through this work has allowed us to successfully apply for two KTP awards with food manufacturers, and we are in the process of embedding our knowledge into the two companies to facilitate production of protein based food ingredients. Have also been successful in applying for £1.25M of Innovate UK funding with a third company to investigate the feasibility of large-scale functional food protein extraction from a waste stream they produce from the fermentation of mycoprotein (their primary product).
First Year Of Impact 2013
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Economic

Description Diet and Health Research Industry Club
Amount £398,037 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/M027449/1 and BB/M027597/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2015 
End 05/2018
Description IUK
Amount £1,000,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 102711 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 10/2019
Description IUK Open Call
Amount £678,213 (GBP)
Funding ID 102711 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 10/2016 
End 10/2019
Description Knowledge Transfer Network
Amount £109,000 (GBP)
Funding ID KTP009478 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2014 
End 05/2016
Description Knowledge Transfer Partnership
Amount £156,000 (GBP)
Funding ID KTP009473 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2014 
End 03/2016
Description TSB
Amount £189,000 (GBP)
Funding ID EP/J501682/1 
Organisation Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) 
Sector Academic/University
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2012 
End 03/2015
Description Collaboration with Paul Clegg 
Organisation University of Edinburgh
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution This project was collaborative with UoE who provided experimental expertise to complement computer modelling at HWU.
Collaborator Contribution Provided expertise in soft matter physics, atomic force microscopy, spectroscopy.
Impact We have authored 5 papers (6th in preparation). These are listed under this award.
Start Year 2016
Description Organic synthesis of alternative gelator molecules 
Organisation Heriot-Watt University
Department Department of Mathematics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Shared information on olegelation. Invited collaborator to project meetings. Eventual joint publications.
Collaborator Contribution The partner will synthesize a range of alternative olegelator molecules that are derivatives of gamma oryzanol that either have the ferullic acid side chain substituted for another group, or have a hydroxyl group substituted. The hydroxyl group is believed to be important in dimerization of the sterols prior to their subsequent self-association into tubules, and also stabilizes the tubules through cooperative H-bonding. The ferrulic acid group is believed to allow inter-tubule interaction (it sticks out from the surface of the tubule) via pi-pi stacking interactions, thus leading to gel formation. By creating and testing oleogelators where one or both of these groups has been substituted will allow us to understand the role they play in the self-association and gelation process.
Impact Too early in project/collaboration.
Start Year 2017
Description Bridge2Food Food proteins Conference paper 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Presentation of research results at a industry/academic conference on sustainable production of food proteins. We presented our approach to separation isolation, and modulation of functionality of novel food proteins. The talk was well received by industry members of the audience and resulted in a number of inquiries about possible collaborations and/or consultancy work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
Description Conference paper on Functional mycoproteins EFFost conference November 2018 Nantes France 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Results for the project were presented. Food industry participants were particularly interested as mycoproteins are potentially a novel food ingredient.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
Description Food Science Roadshow 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact generated a great deal of interest amongst younger audience members on the composition of their food

Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
Description Inaugural Lecture 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact I gave a public lecture on sustainable prot onein production my promotion to a personal chair in 2016. The event was attended by over 100 colleagues from my own University and local Universities, interested members of the general public and students from my own University. Th e topic sparked a lively debate on the environmental and economic sustainability of animal proteins vs plant and alternative protein sources.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016
Description Interface Food and Drink reformulation Meeting at Strathpeffer Pavillion, Inverness 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Interface food and drink reformulation group is a working group set up by Interface, the academic-industry engagement body, that has the remit to facilitate collaboration between Scottish academics and the food industry in the area of food reformulation for improved health. I was invited to talk about our work on novel, sustainable proteins as animal protein replacers, and on fat replacement in foods.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
Description Press release 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact The release was picked up by several national news papers and reported on websites with international reach

As a result of this publicity I have received approximately 20 requests from various companies for further information on the subject. Some of these (about half) I have passed on to a University spin-out who makes the fat replacers we have used in the research. The company anticipates that this will result in a significant increase in business although it is too earluy to quanitfy this yet.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014
Description Talk on the physics of beer foam 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invitation to give a talk to the Institute of Physics Scotland group on the Physics of beer foam.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018