Fiber-Reinforced Protein-Starch Composite as the Basis for Meat Analogues
This thesis investigates using zein protein as a filamentous structure for the creation of a whole muscle meat analogue. Zein alone does not have the nutritional profile or structure to mimic meat, thus, we developed a novel method using rapid swelling starch and pea protein isolate to create a proteinaceous supporting matrix that suspends the zein fibrils. First, we investigated the physical, rheological, and molecular properties of the rapid swelling starch-protein composite. We then explored the viscosity of 5%w/v protein-starch suspensions, in order to further understand the key interactions. This investigation was then extended to other commercial pea protein isolates, to identify the functional properties contributing to the interactions. We then combined the best performing starch and pea protein composite with zein protein to create a filamentous meat analogue, whose textural properties we compared against cooked chicken and beef to determine the product’s viability as a whole muscle meat analogue.