A growing population coupled with general economic growth means that the demand for food and agricultural products will grow significantly.
This increases the demand for proteins for animal feeds. In Denmark, soybean meal from South America is the most important source of feed protein. This import, however, has been criticized from many sides.
The research platform Green Protein is looking for suitable alternatives to the use of soybean as a protein source for farm animals.
One of the aims of the platform is to optimise the extraction of proteins and other high-value components from green biomasses and undertake chemical, biochemical and biological evaluations of the protein fractions produced in laboratory and pilot-scales. Furthermore, scientists from several departments at Aarhus University will also be looking at the possibilities of replacing animal-based protein in food products with green biomass proteins.
As part of the platform, a pilot-scale facility for protein extraction and exploitation of by-products from the process has been created. The pilot-scale facility produces two primary streams: a liquid phase and a solid phase consisting of the fibrous fraction.
The scientists extract the proteins and other compounds from the liquid fraction by precipitating proteins using heat and/or pH adjustment. The fraction is subsequently dried to a storable product and can be used as a protein source for pigs.
The solid phase will be dewatered and dried to a product that can be used in the feeding of cattle or sows or as a raw material in a central biorefinery.
Researchers will also be looking into the stability of proteins from green biomass and analyse the nutritional quality of these. This is done using rats and ileum-cannulated pigs and will also provide information concerning the nutritive value for humans.
The research platform will serve as a platform for future large-scale national and international projects within the biorefining of green biomass.