Filipino technology develops “green gold” plant-based protein sports drink for athletes

HSBC Philippines
Plant based protein
Surplus and organic waste materials from coconut, rice, and vegetables that usually end up as agricultural waste have been tapped as abundant sources of healthy “Functional Protein”. Photos from DOST.

Filipino technology has developed a plant-based protein sports drink concentrate for athletes who are training even while under community quarantine to stop the spread of coronavirus disease.

The Department of Science and Technology – Industrial Technology Development Institute (DOST-ITDI) focused on putting to good use the piles of surplus and organic waste materials from coconut, rice, and vegetables that usually end up as agricultural waste; and tapped them as abundant sources of healthy “Functional Protein”.

The project funded under the DOST Grants-In-Aid program has the team recovering and extracting the protein content by processing agricultural by-products such as pressed coconut meal and rice bran and local vegetables like cowpea (paayap), and pigeon pea (kadyos).

They develop and modify existing methods of pretreatment, extraction, and recovery which will maximize factors such as productivity, reliability, and efficiency of methods to recover the protein especially for commercial production of food-grade protein concentrates.

The team aims to develop protein concentrates that can be applied in sports nutrition like high-protein drinks, animal meat alternatives like textured vegetable protein (TVP) products, and stabilizers or emulsifiers.

Called by some as “green gold”, Functional Protein is widely used in sports nutrition by athletes, sports, and exercise enthusiasts or by people who just want to stay healthy.

Functional Proteins are a complex mixture of biologically active proteins that are needed by the body that help support and maintain normal immune function. It could also be like an enzyme, a protein that catalyzes a reaction of some kind. Examples of functional proteins are immunoglobulins and avidin.

New markets are opening for functional protein concentrates and their other forms and are seeing increased global demand because of consumer awareness and the growing need for food products with improved functionalities such as infant formula, sports nutrition, functional beverages, dietary supplement, and animal nutrition.

DOST-ITDI food technologist Lourdes Montevirgen and her team are working hard to tap into this potential market.

The growth of the functional protein market is driven by consumer awareness and the need for functional foods. Projections are very promising as the growing preference for a healthy diet, increasing instances of chronic diseases, and technological upgrades in food to shift demand from plain functional to healthy and enhanced functional food.

Healthy Ready-to-drink beverages have also been developed by DOST Davao using local harvests such as kamote, calamansi, and turmeric, and given to frontliners.

University of the Philippines Diliman food technology senior students also developed the Lukal, a ginger-and calamansi juice concentrate first donated to frontliners at the Philippine General Hospital and Lung Center of the Philippines. The demand for Lukal has increased with both hospital frontliners and ordinary citizens wanting to have the drink to stay healthy.

SEND CHEERS in the comments below to the Filipino technology teams behind the development of the “green gold” plant-based protein sports drink for athletes!

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