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There is a growing need for protein for both feed and food in order to meet future demands. It is imperative to explore and utilize novel protein sources such as protein from leafy plant material, which contains high amounts of the enzyme ribulose-1,5-biphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (RuBisCo). Leafy crops such as grasses and legumes can in humid climate produce high protein yields in a sustainable way when compared with many traditional seed protein crops. Despite this, very little RuBisCo is utilized for foods because proteins in the leaf material has a low accessibility to monogastrics. In order to utilize the leaf protein for food purposes, the protein needs to be extracted from the fiber rich leaf matrix. This conversion of green biomass to valuable products has been labeled green biorefinery. The green biorefinery may be tailored to produce different products, but in this Review, the focus is on production of food-grade protein. The existing knowledge on the extraction, purification, and concentration of protein from green biomass is reviewed. Additionally, the quality and potential application of the leaf protein in food products and side streams from the green biorefinery will be discussed along with possible uses of side streams from the protein production.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry
Pages (from-to)14341-14357
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • food protein quality
  • functional properties
  • leaf protein
  • nutritional value
  • processing

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