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Massey to lead world food protein project

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 8/12/2016

Massey University scientists are to lead an "iconic project" that organisers say could dramatically improve world food security and meet the nutrition needs of growing populations.

The Riddet Institute, New Zealand's top food and nutrition research body, has announced the Proteos project, which aims to characterise the quality values of the world's food proteins.

The institute's co-director, Distinguished Professor Paul Moughan of Massey University, says the work will result in a global dataset.

It will be used for assessing nutritional adequacy in the malnourished, planning for food security and sustainability of food production, and assessing the role of dietary protein in the maintenance of health and fitness of the worldwide population.

"It will also influence international trade in proteins as well as facilitating the establishment of claims made about protein in foods and beverages," Prof Moughan said.

The institute is hosted by Massey and includes AgResearch, Plant and Food Research, and Auckland and Otago universities.

Proteos is funded by an international consortium of food industry sectors and follows call a from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) for state-of-the-art information on food protein sources.

Prof Moughan, who is also chair of the 2011 FAO Expert Consultation on Protein Quality in Human Nutrition, will lead the work.

The team also includes scientists based in the United States, the Netherlands and France.

Prof said the tests and measurements to be applied to food proteins to establish the database rested heavily on previous studies by the institute.

"This puts New Zealand, Massey University and the Riddet Institute in the driving seat of what is an iconic science project," he said.

"It is hugely important for planning protein supplies for the world, to avoid malnutrition in the future."

The Chicago-based Global Dairy Platform will co-ordinate the project on behalf of industry sponsors.

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