“Kokumi” flavour enhancers from poultry and fish proteins

Dr. Mirko Betti and co-applicants from University of Alberta have received $ 340,000 from Alberta Innovates – Bio Solution to find new technologies to generate kokumi sensation from undervalued poultry and fish proteins.

The term kokumi refers to the Japanese concept relating to the capacity of an ingredient to improve the taste of food. Kokumi is considered the sixth basic taste to which the following three types of flavour sensations are attributed: mouthfulness and continuity (long-lasting taste development), punch (first impact) and mildness. Kokumi molecules have the ability to enhance salt perception and thus allow reduced salt concentrations in foods.

Reduction of dietary sodium is a priority for Health Canada and the Canadian food industry. The average consumption of dietary sodium by Canadians is estimated at 3500 mg/day (Barr 2010). Reducing dietary sodium by 1840 mg/day is recommended to reduce the blood pressure by 5.06/2.70 mmHg in adult hypertensive patients.  Therefore, strategies to replace sodium in processed foods without compromising the taste include the use of salty taste and flavour such as glutamate or kokumi substances.

The main objective of the present project is the development of a new process for the production of new molecules having salty and/or kokumi tastes. Proteins from poultry and fish processing by-products as well as some undervalued vegetable proteins will be used to generate kokumi sensation.

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