In cereals for example, the quantity of protein and the composition of different proteins are both important for the baking properties of the flour. Important properties in fish and meat, such as fillet splitting, tenderness and juiciness are also affected by the composition of proteins and the stability of proteins during the storage period. The protein quality and thereby the composition of a meal is also important for health. Nutritionally the quality of protein is determined by the content of essential amino acids. Animal products have a higher protein quality than vegetable ones. It is important to exploit this in a nutritional perspective. Nofima Mat has extensive competence in this area.
To understand the effect of different proteins on quality, we are researching into the composition and breakdown of proteins in meat, fish and cereal raw materials. Protein composition and the breakdown of proteins in various raw materials is being investigated with the aid of proteome analysis - a method for studying hundreds of proteins in a raw material at the same time. Biochemical methods are also used to study enzyme activity and the content of particularly important proteins, while histological methods are used to study the structures of muscle and connective tissue, which is relevant for both tenderness in meat and fillet splitting in fish.
Many proteins lose their functionality during heat treatment and certain other processes. Studies of proteins that are significant for raw material quality are therefore being carried out in various processing conditions.
Nofima Mat is also working on developing protein rich food in diets for the obese and has, for example, developed sausages with an extra high protein content that give a feeling of fullness for longer than normal.