Extrusion texturization of plant and insect proteins and its effect on digestibility


Research Partner and Scientific Guidance:

  1. Fraunhofer-Institut für Verfahrenstechnik und Verpackung IVV Freising, Christina Opaluwa

IGF: 352 EN
Financing: BMWK
Duration: 2023 – 2024

The importance of alternative protein sources is increasing due to global social change. So far, plant proteins have often been used as an alternative protein source. However, plant proteins are often deficient in essential amino acids, which reduces their nutritional value compared to animal proteins. A possible solution to optimize the nutritional quality of alter-native protein-based products is to combine different protein sources. Increasing attention is paid to proteins from insects, since insects can be cultivated with lower resource consumption compared to conventional animal production. Although first insect-based foods are already commercially available, the use of insect proteins in foods is legally limited, which suggests a nutritionally favorable combination with plant proteins. The nutrient availability and processability of insect proteins is significantly influenced by other insect components, such as chitin. Therefore, fractionation processes for obtaining insect-based food ingredients, such as protein flours or protein concentrates, play a crucial role. Also, the potential of further processing of insect protein ingredients in nutritionally optimal combination with plant proteins by thermophysical processes, such as cooking extrusion, to produce textured proteins as well as the nutrient availability of such products is still largely unknown.

The aim of this project is therefore to determine the influence of the fractionation conditions for obtaining insect protein from mealworms on protein digestibility, the amino acid profile and the bioavailability of trace elements. In a further step, blends of the fractionated insect proteins and selected plant proteins will be textured using cooking extrusion and the products will then be investigated with regard to their nutritional quality. By providing data on nutrient digestibility and bioavailability, SMEs will be supported in the development of new nutritionally beneficial formulations.


The IGF project presented here by the Research Association of the Industrial Association for Food Technology and Packaging (IVLV e.V.) is funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action as part of the program for the promotion of industrial community research (IGF) based on a decision of the German Bundestag.