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Linking Protein Quality in Biorefinery Output to Forage Crop Crude Protein Input via the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System

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The biorefinery technology aiming at protein extraction is rising and identification of suitable plant biomass input with valuable protein compounds for extraction is needed. Forage crops have been evaluated by the Cornell Net Carbohydrate and Protein System (CNCPS), and the result used as proxy of extractable protein in a biorefinery process. This serves as a helpful link between crop production and refinery output; however, the method has never been validated. Such validation is the main aim of this study. Five forage species-white clover, red clover, lucerne, perennial ryegrass, and tall fescue-were cut at four dates during spring and processed in a lab-scale refinery (screw press and subsequent protein precipitation from the green juice). The pulp fraction and the precipitated protein concentrate were both CNCPS analyzed to follow the initial crude protein (CP) plant input into these two fractions. Total recovery in concentrate was highest for the legumes, which points to an advantage of these species in protein extraction setups. High recovery of B1 and B2 (50% or higher for the grasses) in the pulp demonstrated a large proportion of soluble protein ending up in the fibrous pulp and shed light on the reason behind high feed quality of the pulp fraction. In conclusion, the existing tentative assumption of extractable protein being equal to CNCPS fractions of B1 and B2 and partly B3 was shown to be too simplified. The presented findings can improve crop species screening in terms of expected extractable protein yield.

Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Pages (from-to)2471-2482
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2021

    Research areas

  • Brown juice, CNCPS, Extraction, Fiber, Perennial crop, Protein concentrate

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