December 19/St. Louis/Aarhus, Denmark/Press Release (Solae) -- Solae is leading a four-year, €11 million research project -- MagPro2Life -- funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union (EU) Commission that includes researchers from Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K. The main aim of the project is to use smart magnetic particles to extract beneficial components during the processing of food, pharma and feed. The company has announced the achievement of major milestones of the project, which include scale-up of a pilot-scale magnetic centrifugation process, and the granting of multiple patents (to DuPont) for both the process and equipment.

"This technology, even though in the early stages, could be a game-changer for how proteins are separated, resulting in enhanced functionality and nutrition. Achievement of these milestones is significant, because this novel technology has never been applied in the food industry,” said Torkel Rhenman, Solae CEO. "It could be very flexible in separating many different protein sources, producing proteins with unique properties and health benefits."

The main impact of this project is to bring healthy, high-value food to the consumer by using smart particles and the unique magnetic separation processes. Additionally, components can be separated, which will be very beneficial to the end consumer.

For example, in a soy or fermentation broth, it is a challenge to separate small amounts of the beneficial proteins, and therefore, it is difficult to produce high purities economically. The new technology can overcome drawbacks in membrane and chromatographic separation technology. The same technology can be applied for pharma or even for feed products. This new magnetic particle separation process would provide cost-savings, and these specially produced particles can be used to selectively separate out the high-value component, producing higher purities and yields with high nutritional value.

“This project will lead to new specialty ingredients that no one is able to economically produce with the current technology,” said Sarah Martin, senior director of applied research at Solae. “And the new process will allow production of specialty proteins for significantly lower than the current cost of production.”

MagPro2Life project has been in development since the last decade, with the project officially kicking off on July 1, 2009. The researchers’ consortium brings together universities, research institutes, subject matter experts and enterprises and is coordinated by Solae.

“This is an outcome of our ‘open innovation’ partnerships at Solae and one of the many novel technologies that we’re exploring,” said Rhenman. “We welcome the opportunity to collaborate with others to explore new technologies and commercial process equipment for food production in the future.”

Partners of the research phase of this project along with Solae are: DTU Lyngby from Denmark, Andritz KMPT AG Vierkirchen, Merck KG Darmstadt, TU Bergakademie Freiberg, FZMB Bad Langensalza and Karlsruher Institute für Technologie from Germany; University College Dublin from Ireland ; National Institute for Laser, Plasma and Radiation Physics Magurele, National Institute for Research and Development of Isotopic and Molecular Technologies Cluj Napoca and Romanian Academy Bucharest from Romania; Universidad de Salamanca from Spain; Bühler AG Uzwil and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich from Switerland; University Birmingham from the UK.

 From the December 21, 2011, Prepared Foods' Daily News.