Development of high-quality food proteins through sustainable production and processing of legume crops
PROTEINLEG is a supra-autonomous Operational Group whose main objective is to develop new sources of food rich in innovative, profitable and efficient plant-based proteins from grain legumes.
With the development of these new food sources, PROTEINLEG intends to provide an innovative solution to the national and European situation of vegetable proteins, with a deficit in the trade balance of 70% and a great dependence on the livestock sector on soybeans as sole source of vegetable protein for the production of compound feed.
PROTEINLEG is committed to the recovery of traditional varieties of legumes, through sustainable and innovative cultivation, to use them as raw material to develop new foods rich in plant-based proteins that are healthy, tasty and attractive, both for human and animal consumption.
In this way, the project pursues a triple objective:
- Ensure sufficient and sustainable production of legumes and plant-based proteins, providing alternatives to soybeans and imports.
- Improve the quality and quantity of proteins in legumes through a multidisciplinary approach.
- Improve consumer’s acceptance on plant-based proteins through new tasty, healthy and attractive products.
The project is developed in four work plans:
- Agrobiodiversity. The objective of this first stage is the selection of the traditional varieties of legumes with the greatest potential. For this, agronomic trials will be carried out in micro-plots and in extensive, under different environmental and stress conditions, evaluating the performance of the seeds, the quantity and quality of the proteins and the levels of antinutrients.
- Sustainability. Studies will be carried out to improve the productivity of the selected varieties in less fertile agricultural lands and under conditions of abiotic and biotic stress, applying sustainable improvement approaches.
- Formulation. In line with the current trend towards natural, innovative, sustainable and quality foods, the previously selected varieties of legumes will be used to develop foods rich in plant-based proteins, both for human and animal consumption (alternatives to meat and soy). The nutritional components of these varieties will be evaluated and products with wide acceptance and good nutritional characteristics will be obtained.
- Validation. Finally, the new sources of protein and the new products (feed and food) developed from them, will be validated at a productive and industrial level. Food for human consumption will be assessed for sensory and nutritional quality, in addition to shelf life tests. For its part, feed will be evaluated in pigs and poultry, comparing the results obtained in terms of animal welfare and meat quality with a control group fed with soy-based feed.
Operational Groups are the main actors in the implementation of the EIP-Agri (European Innovation Partnership for Agricultural productivity and sustainability), and one of the key tools for the execution of the National Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 for promoting innovation in the agri-food and forestry sectors within the European scope. They gather agents of different profiles with common interests, such as farmers, ranchers, companies, researchers or training and dissemination actors, who are associated to implement an innovation project in order to provide a joint and multi-sectorial response to a problem or need.
For more information about operational groups:
- Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission: https://ec.europa.eu/info/food-farming-fisheries_en
- National Program for Rural Development 2014-2020: http://www.redruralnacional.es/desarrollo-rural/programas-de-desarrollo-rural
FEUGA is responsible of this content.
To carry out this initiative, PROTEINLEG is comprised by a multidisciplinary and supra-autonomous team (Galicia, La Rioja, Andalucía and Madrid) that has a total of 14 participants among partners, subcontracted members and collaborators:
- Galician Enterprise University Foundation (FEUGA) (OG representant).
- Ramiro Arnedo, S.A.
- Almacenes Gamallo, S.L.
- MIMIC SeaFood, S.L.U.
- Misión Biológica de Galicia (MBG-CSIC).
- Fundación Centro Tecnolóxico da Carne (CTC).
- Subcontracted members:
- Centro Nacional de Tecnología y Seguridad Alimentaria (CNTA).
- ProSeeds Hybrid S.L.U.
- Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM, Unidad de Genómica).
- Asociación INVEGEN-BIOVEGEN.
- Asociación Galega de Cooperativas Agroalimentarias (AGACA).
- Asociación de Empresarios, Gandeiros e Agricultores da Limia (ADEGAL).
- Asociación de Criadores de la Raza Porcina Celta (ASOPORCEL).