Q&A: U of S researcher pushes the limits on pulses

Q&A: U of S researcher pushes the limits on pulses

By Nick Pearce, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

A University of Saskatchewan scientist sees a future where grocery bags come from pulse seeds.

Dr. Yongfeng Ai has received $2.5 million through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership to spur research aiming to draw more value from plants like peas, fava beans, lentils and chickpeas. Ai spoke to the StarPhoenix about how his research works on finding new uses for pulses, from making new food ingredients to replacing Styrofoam, grocery bags and wound dressings.

This interview was edited for length and clarity.

Q: Why is this important?

A: Plant-based proteins are used for things like the Beyond Meat burger and other plant-based foods, which are gaining popularity. But at the same time, the crops used for those, like peas and lentils, also have about 40 to 50 per cent starch in their seeds. Basically, we separate the protein and the starch.

Finding a good way to use starch is critical for industry, because we cannot just look at protein. The challenge we’re facing in Saskatchewan is we produce more and more plant-based protein — because that’s popular — but how do we utilize the starch?

This item is reprinted with permission from the StarPhoenix. For the complete article, click HERE

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