Wanted: Alternative Protein Sources for Humans

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The production of large quantities of foods of animal origin to ensure the human protein supply has negative environmental consequences, which is why plant protein sources and insects are under discussion as alternatives. The quality of proteins should be determined not just by their amino acid composition, but by their specific digestibility and bioavailability – i.e. via their Digestible Indispensable Amino Acid Score (DIAAS). According to scientific findings, however, the structure, processing and subsequent digestion of the food strongly influences the bioavailability of the proteins it contains. Using a test-tube simulation of digestion, this research project aims to develop a basis for calculating the biological value of a food protein more accurately. Foods are sources for other nutrients besides protein, however. The ‘HumanProt Sources’ project investigates the contribution of plant and animal protein sources to nutrient provision for humans (protein, vitamins and minerals) and clarifies whether plant protein sources can be optimised in this respect through e.g. processing, microbial fermentation, or combining with other foods.

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