Brazilian food major BRF seeks patent on low-fat animal protein hydrolysate

By Kacey Culliney

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The patent refers to production of a low-fat animal protein hydrolysate using enzymes and acids that can be used in condiments. Image © Getty Images / Magone
The patent refers to production of a low-fat animal protein hydrolysate using enzymes and acids that can be used in condiments. Image © Getty Images / Magone
BRF has developed a method to make a low-fat animal protein hydrolysate using enzymes and acids that can be used in condiments and seasonings, as well as functional foods for sports and weight loss.

Writing in its international patent filing,​ BRF said the lipid content and other “undesirable materials” ​were separated and removed from the meat through a 9-step protein hydrolysis process, resulting in a uniform protein hydrolysate that had a protein content of 14 – 18% and fat content less than or equal to 1%.

A competitive task...

BRF said there were a few typical ways to decompose protein into amino acids - either using hydrochloric acid, thermal extraction or enzymes.

Use of hydrochloric acid, however, posed safety concerns because toxic chlorohydrin or mutagenic compounds could be generated; thermal extraction left a large amount of residue when decomposing animal proteins because the muscular protein solidified with heat; and use of enzymes was often costly because of the large amounts required. 

Most processes that primarily used enzymes tended to be for vegetables like wheat protein, it said, because a high decomposition in animal protein was “deemed to be difficult”.

“There are few seasonings produced by decomposing meat or bone with enzymes at present, and techniques for the methods have not yet been established,”​ BRF wrote.

On of the biggest challenges, it said, was overcoming the typical bitter taste associated with the generation of peptides during the decomposing step.

Whilst many companies from all over the world, including Japan, Korea and Brazil, had filed patents on methods to break down animal proteins safely and efficiently, BRF said its method resulted in a condiment product “with physical and chemical characteristics”​ that surpassed previous attempts.

The 9-step process

The method comprised of nine steps, it said, starting with pasteurizing the raw material using a thread system with controlled temperatures between 65°C - 85°C and speeds around 10-25 rpm.

Enzymatic digestion was then performed using an enzyme-raw material ratio of 1.5-3.0 : 3,000 in large steel tanks for 1-2 hours at temperatures between 53°C - 72°C . The resulting mixture was then filtered and its pH corrected with the addition of acid, preferably phosphoric, and an anti-foaming agent.

After this, initial centrifugation took place in a decanter to separate the liquid and solid phases of the mixture. An additional centrifugation step or aeration was then used once the solids had been removed.

The remaining liquid broth was then concentrated in a vacuum under controlled temperatures of 80-95°C to achieve a degree Brix, or sugar content, of 25-35.  Acid hydrolysis was then performed adding 25-50% hydrochloric acid that was then neutralized with 22-44% potassium hydroxide until a broth with a pH of 6-7 was obtained.

The resulting protein hydrolysate was then cooled, mixed with dextrin and anti-humectants and dried.

Nutritionally important

As well as being high in protein and low in fat, BRF said its animal protein hydrolysate was also high in small peptides and amino acids which provided a stronger, meatier flavor as well as a nutritional advantage.

“In the last few years, several studies have demonstrated that small peptide-rich preparations, particularly dipeptides and tripeptides resulting from the partial hydrolysis of proteins, have a gastrointestinal absorption that is more efficient than intact protein and free amino acids. Also, these peptides present a lower osmolarity when comparing than free amino acids, and are best tolerated by individuals with absorption problems.

“Therefore, the availability of nutritionally balanced products that use the protein hydrolysates can provide an important protein intake in food diets,” ​BRF said.

Source: WIPO Patent No. WO2018058218
Published: April 5, 2018. Filed: September 27, 2017.
Title: “A process for producing an animal protein hydrolysate, animal protein hydrolysates and its uses”
Author: BRF S.A

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