Pulsing with life: government invests in Australian beans

Monday, 13 September, 2021

Pulsing with life: government invests in Australian beans

Australia produces a 20th of the world’s pulses but is unable to significantly contribute to the increasingly important plant-based protein market. The typical pulses that Australia grows — chickpeas, faba beans, mung beans, lupin, field peas and lentils — are not regularly used for protein additives in meat-alternatives. Instead, soy bean and yellow pea are the favoured crops of this market — crops that are not widely viable for growing in Australia.

New research is aiming to change that, however, with the Transitioning Australian Pulses into Protein-based Food Industries project having received almost $1 million in funding. This project aims to boost the commercial applications of the pulses that Australia grows.

Researchers from the University of Sydney are hoping to find ways of efficiently processing these pulses, keeping water and energy consumption low, into useable protein concentrates and isolates. If this can be achieved and commercialised, it could lead to Australia being a solid source of protein for meat-alternatives in future years.

“At the end of this three-year project, we envisage Australia’s plant protein food and ingredient sector will be sufficiently established to encourage local investment in protein fractionation plants, which produce proteins from pulses, across Australia,” said lead researcher Professor Brent Kaiser.

“Australia produces about 4% of the world’s pulses, putting it in plum position to be a key player in the growing plant protein market. Working with domestic and international partners with expertise in pulse seed processing and food manufacturing, we will fill a critical gap in the local plant protein food supply chain.”

Researchers will be working with industry partners AEGIC, Roquette, Clextral, All G Foods and Wide Open Agriculture.

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/peangdao

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