Investigating amyloid fibril formation from proteins in food products

When it comes to many food products such as bread, cakes, jams and sauces, proteins play an important role in the formation of the right texture, taste and appearance.

Many animal protein types, like for example those from eggs, have good properties when it comes to making foams, emulsions or gels.

However, considering the overall growing demand for more sustainable high-quality food systems, a greater insight in the behaviour of these food constituents could advance their partial or full replacement by a more sustainable source, like for instance from vegetables.  

In the FWO funded project “PROFIBFUN”, researchers from Ghent University and KU Leuven will investigate how proteins in a food matrix form so-called amyloid fibrils.

They will examine what these protein structures look like, how and under what conditions they are formed, why they behave the way they behave in different food systems and how their functionality can potentially be mimicked. In addition, Ghent University researchers will assess what the impact of these structures is on human health.

As a result, technologies which improve the techno-functional properties of proteins could be developed, which could aid in the transition towards the use of more plant-based and alternative protein sources and reducing the levels of animal proteins in food systems by their partial or full replacement by proteins from other origins.