Associate Professor Buddhi Lamsal and graduate students Mahfuz Rahman and Bibek Byanju have been researching methods to increase the amount of protein extracted from legumes, particularly soybeans. Conventional methods allow 50 percent of the protein to be extracted, but the Iowa State researchers are hoping to get closer to 70 percent using high-power sonication. Photo by Whitney Baxter.

Getting the most protein out of legumes and oilseeds

Whether it's a protein bar or a protein shake, the main source of protein in the product comes from soybeans and other legumes. Researchers at Iowa State are looking to improve the protein extraction process from legumes and make the most of them in food applications.

Food science and human nutrition graduate students Bibek Byanju and Mahfuz Rahman, under the direction of Associate Professor Buddhi Lamsal, have been using high-power sonication to extract protein from defatted soybean flakes and flour. Conventional methods allow 50 percent of the protein to be extracted, but the researchers hope to extract closer to 70 percent with their method.

If they are successful in their research, both industry and society will benefit from the results, and the findings will also help evaluate the sonic-assisted plant protein extraction and such processing technology at larger scales.

Read the full story on the Food Science and Human Nutrition website.