Targeting Pongamia pinnata as a novel source of plant-based protein for the food industry


Background

Plant-based protein is gradually becoming the essential alternative source of animal-based protein and is expected to become a major source of protein worldwide in the near future.

Global alternative protein investments grew 60% from 2020 to 2021 to a new record-breaking total of $5 billion, with Israel second only to the U.S in investment and the number of alternative protein startups. These investments rely on a high-quality and productive feedstock of alternative protein.


Our goal

To become a leading provider of Pongamia plant-based protein for food and feed.


Our solution

Our motto is "Pongamia pinnata - One plant to clean, energize and feed the world." Our solution is to develop Pongamia pinnata, a unique legume tree with tremendous potential as a seed crop, for the production of four premium products:

1. Oil – the feedstock for biodiesel.

2. Starch – the feedstock for bioethanol.

3. Pod shells – the feedstock for direct combustion.

4. Complete protein – the feedstock for the food industry.

Our sustainably grown Pongamia plantations continuously sequester carbon and fixate nitrogen, thus combating climate change while becoming a significant resource for the food and energy industries.


Our R&D, in collaboration with the Israeli Agriculture Research Organization, The Volcani Institute, is currently focusing on the development of new high oil and protein-yielding varieties of Pongamia with potential yields far exceeding those of current protein sources (> two to three-fold), including soybeans, chickpeas, and peas.

Our elite genetic lines produce ~33% complete protein in a hexane-defatted seed cake. We breed and register high protein-yielding varieties and develop improved and innovative technologies to extract Pongamia seed proteins with improved functionality while removing bitter and unpalatable components.




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