Functional proteins from potatoes

Tuesday, 08 January, 2008


Developer of customised industrial-scale separation services Upfront Chromatography has announced that commercial production of highly functional proteins from the side stream of potato processing has been enabled using its Rhobust processing platform. The Rhobust adsorbent is a key component of Solanic's industrial processing plant, which was officially opened in December 2007 in Gasselternijveen, Netherlands. Solanic is the protein business unit of the potato starch giant AVEBE.

The functional proteins isolated using this process have a wide range of functionalities comparable to high-grade proteins such as egg and milk proteins. The plant currently has the capacity to produce 1000 tonnes of functional protein per year and Solanic aims to produce 10,000 tonnes of protein per year in a second phase, which will be the world's largest industrial protein chromatography installation by far.

"The adsorbent allows us to extract previously inaccessible proteins from our waste stream," commented Marco Giuseppin, director R&D of Solanic.

The installation at the Solanic plant employs Upfront's proprietary mixed mode ligand chemistry to enable isolation of functional proteins without using traditional heat coagulation methods.

"The Rhobust platform offers companies new revenue opportunities in the protein food ingredients industry," commented Allan Lihme, technical director at Upfront Chromatography. "Our technology has already been proven to be suitable across a wide range of industries and we are currently looking at numerous applications in crop processing such as wheat, pea, corn, oats and other cereals."

The Rhobust processing platform is based on second-generation expanded bed adsorption (EBA) and enables the recovery of high value functional proteins from low value, high volume raw materials and process side streams. It can be used to process a variety of side streams from crop processing, including but not limited to potatoes, wheat, pea, corn, oats and other cereals. The columns are operated at atmospheric pressure and are capable of processing liquid streams at very high flow rates without the need for prior cleanup and high-pressure pumps.

Selection of proprietary mixed mode ligands enables sensitive control with the capture and release of target molecules by simple changes of pH, which can be readily implemented in large-scale production facilities and maintain biological activity of the product. The chemistry of the mixed mode ligands and adsorbent beads employed are exceptionally stable to harsh regeneration under a wide range of cleaning and elution conditions. This key characteristic enables the column and associated fluid lines to be washed and decontaminated with hot caustic solutions such as 1M NaOH.

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