Soy joint venture yields patent application

By Shane Starling

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Soy protein Protein Nutrition

Solae and Novozymes have jointly filed a production patent for isolated soy proteins as the companies consolidate Novozymes’ enzyme know-how and Solae’s soy capabilities.

The two suppliers said the patent-pending technology would enhance the sensory characteristics and physical properties of their soluble soy offerings and make them available to a greater number of food and beverage matrices.

Consumers would find “no bitter or beany taste as well as improved mouthfeel and texture” ​the companies said, with mainstream food products a direct target. Beverages and bars were mentioned, along with sweeteners, vitamins and minerals.

The companies, which have been working together for many years, did not return calls before publication.

Enzyme action

The patent revolves around the TL1 enzyme used to hydrolyze soy protein and which the companies said, “cleaves the protein's polypeptide 'backbone' at given amino acid residues”.

"The protein profile of this product, in combination with proprietary process technology, enhances the functional characteristics of the protein without contributing negative flavors like bitterness,"​ said Jonathan McIntyre, Solae vice president of innovation and technology.

The companies said they were working together to “allow our respective customers protected access to the various aspects of this invention, in accordance with the joint development agreement in effect between the two companies.”

Anders Østergård, Novozymes marketing director for feed, food and specialties said the project was in its development phase with the, “outcome of the patent application as yet unknown.”

New horizons

Østergård told last month that the technology had the potential to take soy isolates beyond their mainstay infant nutrition, sports nutrition and meal replacement markets.

“In order to optimize that use and make them suitable for a wider range of applications, you must improve the solubility and flavor quality of soy. Enzymes treatment can do this,”​ he said.

The current size of the soy protein market is estimated at over 600,000 metric tons.

Enzymes are already widely used in protein processing. According to Novozymes, its collaboration with Solae stands out because the companies have been working with experimental enzymes that have not yet been commercialized, in order to find the matches with the most potential.

Ultimately, the fruit of this partnership should allow manufacturers to double protein content in applications that require high protein levels, or to increase the proportion of soy protein relative to other proteins in regular products.

This means manufacturers could potentially decrease the use of dairy proteins, which have shot up in price over the last few years, said Oestergaard.

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