WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The United Soybean Council announced a $1.1 million award to Purdue University’s Institute for Food Entrepreneurship and Production for a joint infrastructure and development project with the University of Arkansas and the University of Missouri. connection for small and medium scale processing of soy-based value-added products.
The project is co-financed by the Food and Agricultural Research Foundation, a federal organization that supports research activities aimed at solving key agricultural issues such as plant health, production, agricultural economics, rural communities, agriculture, and food security.
Associate Professor Dharmendra Mishra, Director of FEMI, will lead the project, which is the result of a national discussion on the soybean value chain.
Members of the Purdue team receiving the grant are Senai Simsek, department chair and professor of food science; Kathy Rainey, associate professor of agronomy; and Karen Hudson, USDA Agricultural Research Service research and molecular biologist.
The project will focus on phenotyping characterization of ingredients for new value-added applications, stress relief testing in the small and medium manufacturing sector, and quality and sensory evaluation of final products.
“Soybeans currently provide the highest protein yield per unit area of any other plant source,” Mishra said. “The main challenge is that taste and functional quality issues affect the food use of existing soy protein products.”
Global demand for soy protein isolate/concentrate is expected to grow 80-fold, while the global market for meat substitutes is expected to reach $140 billion by 2029, Mishra said.
Soybean production for renewable diesel is expected to increase by 10% over the next three years.
“There was a critical need to help soybean farmers and soybean processors. Our project proposes to address small and medium-scale processing bottlenecks and facilitate the scaling up of identification systems through an international team,” Mishra said. “Our project aligns with the overall strategic vision of connecting soybeans to the consumer market.”
Shimsek said this type of highly interdisciplinary work requires collaboration and coordinated efforts with researchers and scientists from different disciplines.
“Soy-based products have continued to grow in recent years and will continue to do so in the future,” Szymsek said.
“Through this grant, Purdue Food Science will become a hub for research, development and education that will bridge the gap by creating connections between farmers, breeders, researchers, students, the food industry and consumers.”
Purdue’s Skidmore Sales and Distribution Food Processing Lab and Pilot Plant bring stakeholders together to create initiatives using state-of-the-art manufacturing processes to develop new soy-based products, refine and process them into plant-based proteins, oils and powders. other value-added products, Mishra said.
Purdue will also offer sensory testing and consumer acceptance evaluation of soy products through its Food Science Sensory Lab.