Pilot Projects

Approved Projects

Probing Pea Protein Digestion Dynamics: A Multiscale Exploration addressing allergenicity potentials

This HALRIC pilot project investigates the complex process of protein-rich food digestion through a multiscale approach integrating scattering and microscopy. Pea proteins, often marketed as hypoallergenic, merit a closer examination due to allergenic potentials arising from proteins with structural similarity to soy and peanut proteins.

Large-scale facilities play a pivotal role in enabling the study of the structural evolution of food during digestion, allowing sufficient kinetic resolution and high-quality data to collect information on conditions of increased or obstructed digestion.

The research team will integrate small-angle scattering and microscopy within a microfluidic device, offering unique insights into the microstructural transformations during digestion. The influence of processing on pea allergenicity, while not fully explored, presents intriguing possibilities, hinting at potential improvements in digestion.

Leveraging cross-border collaboration and diverse infrastructures, the work plan spans preliminary experiments at Malmö University, time resolved SAXS at CoSAXS (MAXIV), and SEC-SAXS experiments at EMBL P12 beamline (DESY) in Hamburg. In order to probe the soluble protein fraction released during digestion, spectroscopic experiments and biochemical assays will be performed as well. Eventually complementary imaging techniques, such as confocal laser microscopy, will be used to explore microscale aggregates behavior upon digestion. This endeavor extends beyond food science, holding potential for tailored food design and even immunotherapy.

For further information about this HALRIC pilot project, please contact:

Davide Schirone
Malmö University

Starting date:
01 Mar, 2024

Research infrastructures:

  • EMBL Hamburg (DESY)
  • MAX IV Laboratory

HALRIC partners:

  • Malmö University
  • Lund University

Project participants:

  • Cy Jeffries (EMBL)
  • Davide Schirone (MaU)
  • Fatima Herranz (MAXIV)
  • Felix Roosen-Runge (LU)
  • Rita Del Giudice (MaU)