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Proteinolab: a joint INRA-Ingredia laboratory

Ingredia and INRA’s Materials and Processing Research Unit (UMET) have set up a joint laboratory focused on studying the structure-function relationships of dairy proteins.  In the longer term, this collaboration should enable the development of new functional ingredients for high-protein applications in human foods.

Updated on 02/13/2018
Published on 11/27/2017

Accredited by the Industries et AgroRessources Competitiveness Cluster (IAR), Proteinolab is one of the fourteen “LabCom” (literally, common laboratories) retained by the French National Research Agency (ANR) following its second calls for projects in 2017.  Created in 2013, this mechanism constitutes a strong incentive for academic laboratories and SMEs to work together on a single scientific project in order to generate new knowledge or know-how that will be a source of innovation.
Proteinolab was born of the complementarity and desire for closer ties between Ingredia, a major international actor in protein ingredients, and UMET, a research laboratory which has acknowledged expertise in characterising and developing materials (solid or soft).

A scientific project deployed over three years

The challenge of the Proteinolab LabCom is to enable the rational development of new functional protein ingredients that can be used in high-protein diets and will meet specific dietary requirements such as:

  • The development of muscle mass for athletes,
  • A satietogenic effect for overweight individuals,
  • The control of muscle loss and sarcopenia in the elderly,
  • The renutrition of patients suffering from malnutrition.

By modulating production processes (e.g. using mineral enrichment/depletion techniques by microfiltration), Ingredia is able to develop differentiated dairy protein isolates which present different technical and functional properties (texturing, emulsifying, swelling, etc.). The company is now seeking to advance further in its understanding and detailed management of these technical and functional properties induced by a change of structure, so that it can construct innovative protein edifices.

Its closer ties with UMET now permit it to envisage a more scientific approach to the design of these protein isolates, involving the identification and precise characterisation of the molecular structures giving rise to the functionalities as well as the destabilisation/aggregation phenomena that affect protein solutions.
During the next three years, this scientific project will focus as a priority on certain high-protein applications such as neutral and acidic milk drinks and fermented products. It should also be noted that an INRA-Ingredia CIFRE (industrial agreement for training through research) PhD thesis project was initiated on the theme of neutral and acid drinks in January 2017.

After these three years, the aim is to organise long-term relations between Ingredia and UMET for the development of new and rational concepts for ingredients.

Scientific contact(s):

  • Guillaume DELAPLACE CNRS-ENSCL-INRA-Université de Lille 1 Joint Research Unit for Materials and Processing (UMR 0638 ; UMET), 369 rue Jules Guesde BP20039, 59651 Villeneuve d’Ascq cedex
INGREDIA, 51 avenue Fernand Lobbedez, CS 60946, 62033 ARRAS Cedex:
Associated Division(s):
Science for Food and Bioproduct Engineering, Microbiology and the Food Chain
Associated Centre(s):


I. © Ingredia, ingredia
© Ingredia, ingredia

Spearhead of dairy production in the Hauts-de-France Region, Ingredia is a major international actor in the manufacture and sale of protein ingredients. The company ranks third worldwide in dairy proteins obtained by membrane filtration, and is the global leader in the micellar casein market.
Ingredia was set up in 1991 by the cooperative La Prospérité Fermière to ensure the optimum valorisation of milk collected from its 1800 member famers based in the Hauts-de-France region of France.

Web: http://www.ingredia.com/

About UMET

.. © INRA

The Joint Research Unit for Materials and Processing benefits from acknowledged expertise in the characterisation and development of materials (solid or soft). The three research teams in the unit undertake the molecular characterisation of macromolecules for food and therapeutic uses:

  • Interface Processes and Equipment Hygiene -PIHM- (INRA)
  • Molecular and Therapeutic Materials -MMT- (CNRS and Université Lille 1)
  • Engineering of Polymer Systems -ISP- (ENSCL and Université Lille 1)

Website: http://umet.univ-lille1.fr/presentation.php?&lang=en