Four research projects in the Ontario Agricultural College have been awarded more than $100,000 from U of G's Hannam Soybean Utilization Fund to investigate new ways of using soy.
The utilization fund is a $1-million, 10-year initiative created in 2000 by the co-founder of First Line Seeds, Peter Hannam, and his family. Funding is awarded each year to researchers who are tapping into the many beneficial properties of soybeans, one of Canada's most popular commodities.
Prof. Peter Pauls, Plant Agriculture, is receiving support for a new project delving into the potential of soybean protein as a raw material for biofibre production. Some proteins can be fashioned into thread, with extremely high strength and flexibility. As a result, they can be used in a variety of applications such as clothing, car seats and plastics.
The other three projects — all based in the Department of Food Science — are building on previous support from the fund.
Two of the projects are focused on ensuring that the nutritional benefits of soybeans, particularly the links to reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, are maintained when soy is used as a food additive.
Prof. Milena Corredig is continuing her research on the processing performance of soy protein in soy-based drinks. This has the potential to ensure that soy proteins maintain their nutritional edge when added to a product, so their health benefits are passed on to the consumer.
Prof. Shai Barbut is building on research to increase the use of soy protein isolates in meat products. Alternative ingredients such as soy are being added to improve the texture and binding of low-fat meat products.
Prof. Art Hill is looking at developing new soy products by gelling soy proteins. His end goal is a totally soy-based product with the consistency of cheese rather than tofu.
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