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Curtin and Wide Open Agriculture unite to commercialise lupin technology

Media release

Curtin University and Wide Open Agriculture will team up to develop and deliver a new technology that has the potential to create a novel plant-based protein from Australian sweet lupins.

Lupin seeds

The new agreement allows Curtin and Wide Open Agriculture to work together to develop and commercialise the new technology, which aims to unlock the functionality of proteins found in the lupin seed, providing benefits for the increasing number of consumers who are reducing their meat intake, such as vegetarians, vegans, or those avoiding gluten and soy.

Lead researcher Associate Professor Stuart Johnson from Curtin’s School of Molecular and Life Sciences said that modified lupin protein is inexpensive, versatile and ‘clean and green’; and may stimulate the increased production of lupins as part of sustainable farming systems.

“Western Australia is the leading global producer of lupins, producing the majority of the world’s supply. Our research team was able to develop a technique to create a plant protein ingredient from the lupin crop, with new and valuable functionality as a food ingredient,” Associate Professor Johnson said.

“Given the growing global demand for plant-based protein food ingredients, this new technology could provide a cost-effective solution using lupin seeds that are grown right here in WA. The extracted protein from lupins could potentially be used in foods such as vegan pasta that is both high protein, and gluten/soy-free.

“We are delighted to sign this new agreement with Wide Open Agriculture and work closely with its team to ensure this new technology has a real-world, everyday application that will benefit farmers, food ingredient manufacturers and consumers alike.”

Wide Open Agriculture Managing Director, Dr Ben Cole said they are excited by the opportunity to join Curtin to deploy this locally-developed technology that offers immense potential to value-add to Western Australia’s lupin crop.

“Lupin is an extraordinarily good source of plant-based protein and yet only four per cent of lupins are currently consumed by humans,” Dr Cole said.

“Curtin’s technology represents an opportunity to create a novel plant-based protein that could elevate lupin into a rapidly growing sector of the food market.”

The team of researchers who developed the technology also include Curtin PhD candidate Hayder Al-Ali and Dr Mark Hackett from Curtin University, Professor Muhammad Gulzar from the Teagasc Food Research Centre in Ireland, and Dr Emmanuel Karakyriakos from Central Chemical Consulting Pty Ltd.

Further information on this lupin technology can be found online here.