Could Magnetic Particle Extraction Be the Next Big Thing in Soy?

Soy ingredients supplier Solae (St. Louis) today announced a groundbreaking research project, which will use smart magnetic particles to separate and extract beneficial components from soy protein.

Soy ingredients supplier Solae (St. Louis) today announced a groundbreaking research project, which will use smart magnetic particles to separate and extract beneficial components from soy protein. The four-year, €11 million research project, called MayPro2Life, is being funded by the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission, which includes researchers from Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Romania, Spain, Switzerland, and the UK. Solae will lead the project.

Solae says that it can be challenging to separate small amounts of beneficial proteins-including high-purity proteins or proteins specifically coveted for their high nutritional value-from, for instance, a soy or fermentation broth. As a result, economically producing large quantities of these beneficial proteins may be prohibitive.

The company says that smart particles and a unique magnetic separation process can overcome drawbacks in membrane and chromatographic separation technology, enabling components to be separated more easily.

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

“This technology, even though in the early stages, could be a game-changer for how proteins are separated, resulting in enhanced functionality and nutrition,” added Torkel Rhenman, Solae’s CEO, in a press statement.

“Achievement of these milestones is significant because this novel technology has never been applied in the food industry,” Rhenman added. “It could be very flexible in separating many different protein sources, producing proteins with unique properties and health benefits.”

For the project, Solae is using multiple patents from DuPont for both the process and equipment. The company has already completed a pilot-scale magnetic centrifugation process.