Plant-based protein production is gaining traction as a way to augment traditional animal protein sources due to environmental and ecological concerns. Protein components are high-value-added products in the field of plant-based protein because of their functional qualities. Protein purification procedures must be used to reduce potential denaturation effects and prevent natural pollution (suspended solids, bioburden, fat, anti-nutritional substances, and so on) in order to maintain natural functions. Alfa Chemistry helps you to minimize denaturation effects and prevent carrying natural contamination to produce highly functional plant protein ingredients. Explore our plant extract and plant clarification solutions!
Learn About Our Solutions
At least one step of chemical and/or thermal precipitation is frequently followed by centrifugation in today's wet purification process. Furthermore, thorough spraying of the solution will result in partial protein denaturation and soluble protein loss. To generate a very clean natural protein solution, cross-flow microfiltration is employed as a protein purification process for the original solution (essentially free of suspended solids, bioburden, fat, etc). Other membranes and/or chromatography can be used to purify it further.
The dairy industry has been using cross-flow microfiltration to purify milk (selectively remove bioburden and residual fat) and fractionated milk (isolate casein from whey protein) for decades while preserving the natural qualities of each protein. Other forms of protein solutions are purified with the same solution (animal-based, plant-based, or produced by microorganisms).
Cross-flow filtration is a physical barrier that is superior to centrifugation for achieving high purifying yields. They operate at a low enough temperature in production to avoid the thermal denaturation of the protein. Different grades of membranes (alone or in combination) can be used to manufacture functional proteins:
- Undissolved particulates are removed by "open" microfiltration, resulting in a "clean" protein solution.
- Microfiltration with a "tight" filter to separate proteins based on their size (for example separating globulin from albumin)
- The big protein is concentrated using "open" ultrafiltration.
- Before final evaporation/drying, "tight" ultrafiltration is used to concentrate tiny proteins.
In each case, residual sugar, salt, and other impurities can be removed by "washing"/purifying the protein concentrate (diafiltration). Cross-flow filtering aids in the production of protein concentrates that have the following properties:
- Native quality and functionality
- Very low bacteria/spore counts
- Very low-fat content
- No suspended solids
Membrane-based processes also enable for the recovery of extra value from the side stream, allowing "trash" to be transformed into valuable goods. For example, after the globulin pH has precipitated, we can filter the centrifuge overflow and recover:
- Albumin that has been naturally solubilized (a valuable product with interesting properties)
- Powdered unresolved globulin (increased production of globulin)
We can clean the concentrate in both circumstances to increase product purity by removing sugar, salt, anti-nutritional components, and other contaminants.