VSU food researcher has been awarded $274,500 to explore new ways to turn hemp protein into a food source
A food scientist at the Virginia State University Agricultural Research Station has received a $274,500 grant to explore the effects of high pressure processing, or HPP, on hemp protein for use in plant-based foods.
Dr. Yixiang Xu received the grant from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.
Xu will work with Dr. GuiBing Chen, a food engineer at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. The duo will study how HPP affects the taste, nutrition and other key qualities of hemp protein.
With few exceptions, hemp protein provides significantly more amino acids than soy protein and dairy protein. Yet, to date, hemp has not responded well to processing methods for its production as a food source.
Hemp protein is nutritious and digestible with 20 amino acids – important for cell maintenance, cardiovascular health – and for regulating metabolic and inflammatory processes, as well as brain development and function.
With growing demand for plant-based proteins, this research could prove invaluable with broad benefits for hemp growers, manufacturers, and other industries, as well as consumers.
The grant will support the project until 2023 and provide students with research-based learning opportunities.