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Hart Tanambell


Hart Tanambell


PhD Project: RuBisCO – High Quality Protein for a Challenged Population

Department: Department of Food Science, AU

Supervisor: Trine Kastrup Dalsgaard, Associate Professor, AU-FOOD

Co-Supervisors: Milena Corredig, Professor, AU-FOOD and Anders Hauer Møller, Postdoc, AU-FOOD

Project Term: March 1 2020 – February 28 2023

Master’s Degree: MSc in Food Science, The University of Auckland, New Zealand

Ribulose-1,5-biphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCO) is a naturally occurring enzyme believed to be the most abundant enzyme in nature, and the main soluble protein in green plant materials. The enzyme is known to be a good source of essential amino acids, and is considerably hypoallergenic, with only two cases of allergenic reaction reported to date. Despite its abundance and potential, this protein has not been widely used for food applications. In addition to lack of lack of business case drivers, another factor that hinders the use of RuBisCO in the food industry is the presence of unwanted compounds in plants, namely chlorophyll, phenols, and anti-nutrients. The abundance of such compounds makes the purification of RuBisCO laborious, particularly at larger scales.

The aim of this project is to develop a robust methodology for purification of a high quality protein ingredient, to determine potential applications related to such ingredient, and evaluate, together with industrial equipment manufacturers upscalability. This will allow to show proof-of-concept for a novel business opportunity for rubisco as a highly specialized product for people with high allergenicity towards other proteins.


The focus of this project is on the application of pressure-driven membrane technology and different chromatography techniques on the purification of RuBisCO. In addition, the effect of some unit operations, namely heating and addition of antioxidants, on these processes will also be assessed.

After a robust methodology has been developed, the focus of the research will be on gathering evidence that the protein is of high quality. Specifically, the in vitro digestibility, allergenicity, and potential biological activities of the protein will be assessed. Ultimately, the potential application of such protein in the food industry will be determined.

Aarhus University Center for Innovative Research (iFood/innFood)

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