Battle of the proteins

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Rapeseed (canola) protein could give soy, dairy and egg proteins a run for their money owing to its low cost, non-allergenic appeal and unique...

Rapeseed (canola) protein could give soy, dairy and egg proteins a run for their money owing to its low cost, non-allergenic appeal and unique technical and nutritional properties, according to US firm Burcon NutraScience.Burcon, which specialises in oilseed protein extraction and purification, recently tied up with oilseed giant ADM to commercialise canola protein and secure 'GRAS' (generally recognised as safe) status in the US (although it is only self-affirmed at this stage).

Crucially, canola protein had a significant cost advantage over dairy protein and did not have the beany taste associated with soy, said Martin Schweizer, manager, technical development.

It also had near 100% solubility in acidic beverages such as juices and fizzy drinks and dissolved clear in functional water-style drinks, he said. Meanwhile its whipping properties meant it could be used as a lower cost substitute for egg whites in meringues, macaroons and other foods.

On a nutritional front, its cholesterol-lowering and antioxidant activity were also well-documented, while its amino acid content was comparable to animal proteins and superior to soy, he claimed.

Canola is the world's second largest oilseed crop after soybeans and is widely grown in Europe as well as the US. It could however be some time before canola protein is available in Europe, where it is subject to the Novel Food Regulation, admitted the firm.

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