Gavan plant protein extraction process utilizes the entire plant, ensuring zero-waste
26 Jul 2022 --- Gavan Technologies has unveiled a novel process to extract protein from lentil legumes. The process uses the entire plant, supports the circular economy and taps into the rising trend of upcycling.
“Our new, multistep technological platform enables us to take any plant source, isolate and extricate multiple proteins and other valuable components until the source is fully consumed,” explains Itai Cohen, CEO and co-founder of Gavan.
“No part of the plant is left out. Moreover, the proteins maintain their original form, and there is no resulting modification to their physical structure,” he continues.
“All of the source’s nutritional and functional qualities are fully preserved,” he adds.
The company expects a gradual market rollout in 2023.
Extraction after extraction
The extraction method, which uses different rounds to exhaust the plant fully, leaves the plant unharmed. The legume source ends up being used either as a neutral-tasting protein, as a proteinous emulsifier, as egg white replacement or as a non-gluten flour.
“Gavan’s proprietary modification platform harnesses the versatility of each plant component’s unique functional characteristics to produce: natural colors, protein isolates, flavor enhancers, gluten substitutes, and other useful compounds,” according to the company.
The process is not very heat demanding, requiring zero-to-minimal heat, which reduces energy consumption.
“Over the last decade, food industry players have been consciously shifting their industrial processes to more sustainable standards,” underscores Cohen.
“They have actively been striving to align their operations to meet the European Commission’s Green Deal call for greater resource efficiency in response to consumers’ efforts to adopt more sustainable lifestyles. Consumers want to know how their food is manufactured, where the ingredients come from, and what is the environmental footprint of the products they are buying,” he notes.
Other methods lead to waste
Cohen flags that innovation should also be centered on harnessing the entire value of the plant.
Many methods that extract protein currently involve chemical processes, he underscores. As a consequence, up to 80% of the plant source can be wasted or used only as compost or animal feed. “In some cases, the company has to allocate funds to remove the waste,” explains the business.
“Innovation within alt protein production focuses predominantly on finding more exotic protein sources and processing them into innovative, palate-friendly alternatives to animal proteins. Many of the methods used, however, fail to glean the full value of the plant source in terms of functional components and holistic goodness,” explains Cohen.
“They end up wasting valuable raw material,” he highlights.
Gavan explains that the products generated are too diluted to use, of lower quality or too energy-intensive to harness, which misses the entire point of saving money and the environment.
“The problem is not the source nor the product; the problem is within the process,” underscores Cohen.
“We developed advanced methods for protein extraction from inception, and that by design are regenerative. We can exploit all of a plant’s components and explore their functional potential in endless food applications without imparting any sensory shortcomings. Being sustainable and circular is integral to our business model,” he adds.
Pilot tests yield results
The legume trials resulted in an extraction of 92% of the protein isolate, with other valuable components – including complex carbohydrates, fiber, minerals and fat – being extracted.
Besides legumes, Gavan successfully extracted products from spirulina, including high-protein colorants.
“Spirulina is made up of 70% high-value protein and hosts a naturally rich content of chlorophyll and the bright blue pigment-protein complex phycocyanin,” explains Yael Leader, head of product for Gavan.
“After extracting the phycocyanin blue colorant, the remaining mass yielded a range of clean-label, protein-based flavor enhancers; a brown colorant offering a better-for-you alternative to the commonly used caramel colorants; residual carbohydrates; and a lipid fraction rich in essential fatty acids and carotenoids,” he continues.
With Gavant, extracting lentils and spirulina, the list of ingredients that can be upcycled continues to grow.
The cocoa sector is trying to reduce food waste and generate some extra income for farmers by upcycling the cocoa fruit.
Meanwhile, Blendhub and Essence Food are joining forces to collaborate on developing affordable, nutritional food products from surpluses, mostly from upcycling fruits and vegetables.
Other products being upcycled include bovine colostrum and even natural umami.
Innova Market Insights named “Upcycling Redefined” one of its Top Ten Trends for 2022, a part of the more significant number one trend: “Shared Planet.”
By Marc Cervera
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