About this Research Topic
Proteins are one of the main building blocks of foods due to their nutritional quality and also their ability to perform as structuring agents. Traditionally, meat and dairy proteins have been used, however, due to their growing negative profile from a sustainability perspective, there have been multidisciplinary efforts over the last few years to understand how to replace animal proteins with proteins that have less impact on the environment (e.g. fewer CO2 emissions), like pea and rapeseed proteins.
Research in industry and academia has resulted in many protein sources already having been proposed as alternatives, with examples including pea proteins, canola, and algae. However, only a few of them have been successfully used for the development of food products so far. The challenge behind this change stems from our limited knowledge of the extraction and formulation processes that are required for the efficient production of functional proteins and their subsequent formulation into compelling food products.
To support the protein transition from traditional sources of protein to more sustainable sources, we need more research on less utilized alternative proteins from different sources, be it plants, fungi, microorganisms, and invertebrates. In particular, there is a need for a better understanding of the transformation of protein structures, and the functionality of the processes- from crops to raw materials, through to the extraction steps, and from raw materials to the final food products through to the formulation processes.
In Research Topic, we are looking for the submission of research articles or reviews focusing on alternative protein sources: their extraction or formulation, and subsequent changes in their structural and techno-functional properties. Submissions to this collection should include a reflection on the prospect of protein sources becoming commercially available in the future.
Keywords: Sustainable proteins, Plant-based proteins, alternative proteins, sustainable food processing, protein extraction, downstream processing, formulation technologies
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.