April 19, 2024

This content material is produced by Laval College.

Researchers on the College of Laval have developed a course of that makes it potential to effectively extract plant proteins produced in extraordinary portions by duckweed, a humble plant that happens naturally in waters in Quebec and elsewhere on the planet. “The potential of this plant as a supply of dietary proteins of plant origin is gigantic,” summarizes the chief of the staff that developed the method, Laurent Bazinet, professor within the Division of Meals Sciences and researcher on the Institute of Vitamin and Practical Meals, of the Laval College.

Opposite to its title, duckweed doesn’t belong to the legume household. Nonetheless, with regards to protein content material, they’re by no means inferior to them. “About 35% of the dry weight of duckweed leaves is protein, which is equal to that of soybeans,” emphasizes Professor Bazinet. As well as, the protein yield per hectare is ten occasions increased than that of soybeans.

The primary protein that duckweed produces is Rubisco (ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase), a key protein in photosynthesis. “Its abundance partly explains why this plant is a veritable protein manufacturing facility. Duckweed can double their biomass inside 24 hours. I don’t know of some other plant that may compete with this,” says Professor Bazinet.

The outstanding protein content material of duckweed is well-known, however the lack of an efficient extraction course of has prevented the usage of proteins from this plant in human meals. Tristan Muller, Marie-Ève ​​​​Bernier and Laurent Bazinet addressed this downside as a part of the work of the VITALE Chair led by Professor Bazinet.

The experiments carried out by this staff, reported within the journal Meals, made it potential to develop a way whose effectivity reaches unprecedented efficiency within the extraction of proteins contained in leaves of all species of meals curiosity taken collectively. The yield of the method and the purity of the merchandise obtained attain 60% and 58%, respectively.

“Duckweed can double their biomass inside 24 hours. I don’t know of some other plant that may compete with it. »

—Laurent Bazinet

Professor Bazinet at the moment sees two potential makes use of for the proteins obtained from duckweed. “On the one hand, they might function meals substances, similar to soy proteins, that are present in quite a lot of meals. We may additionally exploit the practical properties of those proteins, significantly their capability as foaming brokers. Our experiments have proven that duckweed proteins have ten occasions better foaming energy than egg whites.”

“Our work on duckweed is simply starting, however we’re already seeing that its proteins may have various makes use of in human vitamin, human well being, in addition to meals formulation,” continues Professor Bazinet. As well as, the manufacturing of duckweed in aquaculture techniques has the good benefit of getting a smaller ecological footprint than meat manufacturing or soy cultivation.