FCFH grant awardees from the University of Helsinki

University of Helsinki has awarded two grants for researchers working at University of Helsinki under FCFH network platform.  The goal of these short-term grants is to support starting of new research collaboration between Finnish and Chinese researchers. Dr. Jian Lyu received a scientific grant (22 400 €) for her project Effects of pre-rigor and post-rigor meat on the functional and quality attributes of hybrid beef and pea protein patties. Professor Per Saris was awarded a seed funding grant (20 000 €) for his project Towards healthier and functional beer.

Dr. Jian Lyu studies hybrid meat products, that contain both meat and plant-based proteins. The aim of the study by is to use pea protein as a partial meat replacement in beef patties. At the same time this means making the meat products more sustainable and reduce meat consumption.

The products will also be healthier because of the decreased salt content.  To use pre-rigor salting effect but by diluting the salted meat mixture with pea protein leads to a decreased salt content in the final patties while maintaining the water-holding capacity. Furthermore, combining the functional properties of salted pre-rigor beef and pea proteins and their interaction improves the general quality of hybrid patties.

In the research so far, the relative proportions of ingredients and water-holding capacity of hybrid patties have been compared, and functional properties of meat and pea proteins have been tested. The next phase in the research will be the interactions of meat and plant protein in the hybrid products, and this part will be collaborated with Associate Professor Lina Zhang at Jiangnan University in China.

The study provides new information about mixture of pea protein isolate and meat at different postmortem stages, that can then guide the production of hybrid meat products with less meat, lower-energy cost, being same time healthier and with higher quality.

Prof. Per Saris studies ways to make healthier and functional beer in collaboration with Dr. Ran Li from Sichuan Agricultural University. Their research initiative focuses on reaching these aims by studying beer made with probiotic yeast Saccharomyces boulardii (promoting health). Functionality is added to beer by making sour beer using a lactic acid bacteria capable of secreting an anti-listerial peptide. Using such beer in marinating meat could make meat more safe regarding the risk of the pathogen Listeria monocytogenes.

S. boulardii have caused infections in persons with a poor immune system. Before infection the yeast has grown on surface as a biofilm. Therefore, we wanted to study if S. boulardii makes biofilm in beer or not, and if it makes then how to avoid biofilm formation.

“People will always drink beer so why not make beer healthier and safer”, says Saris.

The project started 1.9.2022 and Dr. Khosrow Mohammadi was hired to the project. He started by characterizing S. boulardii´s capacity to make a biofilm in beer stored in glass bottles. The results showed that the probiotic yeast did form biofilm in the beer. This work is in press in Beverages.. In addition, ways to inhibit the biofilm was studied and we found several additions to beer that can inhibit biofilm formation by S. boulardii.

Now the first experiments with sour beer using anti-listerial leucocin-producing Leuconostoc has been done and chicken meat spiked with listeria was marinated with the anti-listerial beer. Preliminary results are promising as no listeria could be detected from the meat, marinated with anti-listerial beer.



Antti Knaapila and the grant awardees Jian Lyu and Per Saris