The Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) and Agrocorp International have launched a research programme to further studies on plant-based food alternatives. This programme will leverage science and technology to also improve ingredient extraction from plant feedstocks. The 4-year collaboration is expected to yield Singapore’s first Research & Development (R&D) platform for extraction and processing capabilities.
Traditional methods of extraction are typically high cost, with low functionality and result in low protein quality. These also heavily utilise resources like water.
Through this partnership, the protein recovery process will be improved to minimise denaturation. Greener ways of ingredient extraction and methods to upcycle agri-waste will be explored as well. One of the technologies that will be used is Pulsed Electric Field, which incorporates short high-voltage electrical impulses that permeabilise the plant cell membrane under non-thermal conditions. It also allows the enzymatic-based release of proteins from plants.
Findings from the research programme will then be used to optimise Agrocorp’s ongoing product development process and boost the quality of plant-based products
Associate Professor Susanna Leong, Vice President (Applied Research) at SIT shared, “With the growing consumer demand for plant-based foods as well as the ongoing concerns around health and climate change, the goal of this research programme is to study how we can sustainably produce plant-based food that can be both nutritious and affordable. We are excited to chart new frontiers in the food technology space with Agrocorp and hope that the outcomes of this research programme will bring us closer to a more resilient and sustainable local food supply, in support of Singapore’s ‘30 by 30’ goal.”
Mr Vishal Vijay, Director of Strategic Investments, Agrocorp International, remarked, “This represents a milestone partnership for Agrocorp in its pursuit of becoming a market leader in the global plant protein space. By improving yields and reducing water and chemical requirements, we are aiming to produce a more cost effective, sustainable and clean label ingredient that will allow dairy and meat replacements to compete more closely with their contemporaries. We’re thankful for how willing SIT has been to work with us on this endeavour and are delighted to partner them and their talented researchers, and leverage their state-of-the-art facilities. We’re also proud to contribute to Singapore’s ‘30 by 30’ efforts with this collaboration.”