Soy protein is fast becoming a food protein of choice due to its abundant availability and health benefits. One promising and emerging technology for transforming soy proteins into palatable and consumer-acceptable products is high-moisture extrusion, which, unlike low-moisture extrusion, produces a meat analog more resembling muscle food. The objectives of this proposed research are:
To develop a technique that can objectively measure the degree of fiber formation in extruded soy proteins.
To determine factors affecting fiber formation.
To understand protein-protein interactions and fiber formation mechanisms.
To determine changes in nutrients and bioactive components following extrusion and conduct animal feeding trials for nutritional performance.
Highly functional polyols for polyurethanes derived from vegetable oil.
Polyurethanes (PU) are an important class of specialty polymers and have a wide array of commercial applications. All polyurethanes are based on the exothermic reaction of polyisocyanates with polyol molecules. The incorporation of triglyceride-derived polyols into polyurethanes is appealing because vegetable oils (triglycerides) from oilseeds and grains are renewable and because large polyol markets (total global use of polyols reached 4.5 million tons in 2000) could bring premium prices to these commodities. Current polyols produced in the industry using epoxidation/methoxylation of soybean oil as the feedstock contain a significant amount of inactive parts in the molecules. When these polyols are incorporated into the PU polymer structure, they would adversely impact the properties of PU foams. Several novel approaches including a combination of chemical and enzymatic methods are being explored to improve the functionality of polyols derived from vegetable oil in this project. The products will be interesterified with glycerin, diacid and other polyols to increase the crosslinking and functionality of the polyols. Based on the functionality and molecular weight of these new polyols, PU foams will be formulated and prepared and their properties characterized in the laboratory. Feedback from the laboratory and industry will be used to further improve the functionality and the polyols derived from the vegetable oil feedstock.
Commercial technologies for highly functional polyols derived from soybean oil.
This project is a continuation of a two-year USB grant that evaluated novel enzymatic, biological and chemical-enzymatic methods for producing polyols. In this continued effort, an emphasis will be placed on developing commercially competitive processes for producing polyols synthesized at the laboratory scale in the first two years. In addition, applications will be extended to include flexible, plastic and epoxy applications of the respective soy-based polyols and epoxies. A combination of chemical and enzymatic processing will be used to attain the desired polyol and epoxy properties.
Extrusion of foods and feeds, processing of grain-based foods, new uses of agricultural materials and biomechanics.