Laboratory tests at Nutriset Group. (Photo credit: JF Lange)
Globalization, changes in taste and agribusiness innovations, as well as changes in demographics and urban geography have caused an upheaval in food habits in developing countries. In a context where agricultural raw materials are subject to speculation, even though their availability is crucial for millions of individuals, the Nutriset Group has chosen to mobilize company teams on the optimal use of plant raw materials that are mainly grown and transformed in emerging areas. Ensuring access to animal proteins for the seven—and soon to be nine—billion people on the planet will be a real challenge for the agribusiness industry. In addition, food choices focusing on animal proteins have an impact on the environment. Today, we need alternatives.
This is why the Nutriset Group created in 2014 a research entity at the crossroads of the various company businesses and directly echoes their mandate.
Since its creation in 2014, company dynamics have led to the development of new technologies in collaboration with Nutriset Group teams or with other partners for 36 prototype creations, no less than 6 patents, many scientific articles published and recognized by the community and several North South cooperations.
Here are some examples:
Properties Of An Analogue Cheese Obtained From Raw Peanut
Authors: Hubert Eudier, Salma Ben-Harb, Jean-Paul Lorand, Fabien Duthil, Mehrdad Negahban, Jean-Marc Saiter and Monique Chan-Huot
The focus is on a peanut suspension in which starch is added and that exhibits specific mechanical characteristics relevant for food products. The mixture is composed of water, lipids, starch, and proteins. The process consists of blending together the different constituents, and the study changes the experimental conditions to tune the mechanical behavior of the mixture. The rheological properties (viscosity, indentation) and physical parameters such as color, dry extract, and particle size distribution were measured. The matrix behavior was studied after a centrifugation step necessary to determine stability of the emulsion, and for varying shearing durations. Short shearing duration induce a maximum of firmness, observed by measuring indentation resistance, and a maximum of spreadability, evaluated by shear rheometry. On the contrary, long shearing duration destabilize the matrix emulsion by increasing the oil separation capacity. This study observes structural changes in the rheological behavior of this analogue artificial cheese that correlates with the extent of shearing.
Publication Link: https://doi.org/10.3146/PS20-1.1
Combined effects of ionic strength and enzymatic pre-treatment in thermal gelation of peanut proteins extracts
Authors: Benoît Basse, Véronique Bosc, Jean-Marc Saiter, Monique Chan-Huot, Jean-Pierre Dupas, Marie-Noëlle Maillard, Paul Menut
Peanut proteins are mostly composed of arachins and conarachins, globular proteins that can form gels under thermal denaturation or enzymatic treatment. We explored here how ionic strength (0.5 M or 0.8 M) and gelation process (a thermal treatment preceded or not by an enzymatic pre-treatment) could affect peanut protein gel properties. Gel formation and final properties were characterized by rheology, and gel structure was observed by confocal microscopy. We found that the ionic strength imposed during protein extraction determines the arachins/conarachins ratio, and that conarachins-rich samples give stronger gels, which is attributed to their higher content in free thiol groups and lysine residues. The gel storage modulus exhibited a power-law dependence with the protein concentration, which exponent depended on the gelation process. Rheological results, together with confocal microscopy imaging, showed that an enzymatic pre-treatment resulted in denser structures than when a simple thermal treatment was applied.
Publication Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodres.2020.109362
Peanut Varietal Selection for the improvement of raw material quality
Authors: Zaoro Touaoro, Marcelina Sakouvogui, Dr. Siba Depavougui, Moussa Mara, Prof. Daniel Tomé, Prof. Dalila Azzout-Marniche, Juliane Calvez, Nathalie Loquet, Salma Ben Harb, Monique Chan-Huot
The quality of proteins in food products is tightly related to the quality of the raw material. Some studies have proven that essential amino-acid profiles depend on the variety of peanuts (e.g. the lysine content can vary between 30% and 105% if the FAO recommendations, Young et al. 1973). Indeed, varietal selectin could be a solution for the use of high-quality raw material in order to optimize the amino-acid profiles of food products via a better digestibility. The quality of proteins can be evaluated by measuring in vivo digestibility scores in Human and animal models and by the chemical analysis of the amino-acids composition of proteins. The overall aim of this project is to use varietal selectivity in order to enhance the nutritional quality of plant raw materials that are largely available globally, such as peanuts, in order to optimize the quality of food products. The project focuses on the quality of peanut proteins (amino-acids profiles and digestibility) and its impact on high-value nutritional products such as ready-to-use-therapeutic-food.