DOST to develop protein-rich food from plants

Published April 8, 2021, 8:52 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Seeking to strengthen the country’s food industries, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is now exploring the development of protein-rich food  from local food processing wastes and underutilized legumes. 

Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña (TOTO LOZANO/ Presidential Photo / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“As the demand for protein is now poised to overtake the current supply of meat sources, the DOST is finding ways for protein-rich food to be developed from local food processing wastes and underutilized legumes,” DOST Secretary Fortunato “Boy” T. de la Peña said in a report.

He said the project is led by Lourdes Montevirgen of DOST- Industrial Technology Development Institute ITDI).

Montevirgen’s team is “now exploring various methods to produce protein concentrate from industrial scale processing by-products like meal cake and bran,” he said.  “For the local legumes, the team will study specific unconventional sources,” he added.

De la Peña said the researchers were expected to develop the pre-treatment, extraction, and recovery methods of protein and evaluate its food product applications. 

“Once these are determined, the DOST-ITDI team will craft the pilot scale production of protein concentrates. Adding value to existing production wastes in the Philippines, this project opens the possibility of the creation of new product variants such as beverages, meat analogue, and high-protein supplements,” he said. 

He noted that the team has started their preliminary experiments on raw materials bought from public markets and will soon start with the initial test runs for protein extraction and analysis. 

He said the researchers have consulted with the Institute of Plant Breeding (IPB) of the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) and the Bureau of Plant Industry in Pangasinan for the available varieties and local suppliers of legumes in the country. 

The project, which is funded by the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), “is deemed essential and timely as Filipinos continue to look for healthier, more affordable food alternatives,” de la Peña said.