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The use of protein hydrolysates to generate high protein foods acceptable to older adults

Project Description

The world population nowadays is ageing at a fast rate resulting in a shift towards higher numbers of people older than 65 years old. This increasing lifespan is not always matched with increased years spent in good health, primarily due to frailty. Malnutrition, the state of being poorly nourished, and particularly decreased protein intake is one of the leading causes of frailty. Therefore, the need to improve protein intake of healthy older adults is important in order to prevent malnutrition and frailty, and retain good health for as long as possible.
The development of high protein foods can be challenging due to several limitations in their processing. Enzymatic hydrolysis, which involves the breakdown of proteins into smaller peptides can improve the techno- and bio-functional properties of the original non-hydrolysed protein, resulting in improved formulation of the products containing the hydrolysates. However, investigation of the use of protein hydrolysates in food and consumer acceptance amongst older adults is needed. The aim of the current project is to investigate the use of enzymatic hydrolysates in order to develop high protein foods acceptable by community-dwelling older adults. The specific project objectives are:
• Investigation of the effect of hydrolysis conditions on the techno-functional and bio-functional properties of legume and/or milk proteins
• Explore which food products are most preferred by older consumers to be developed as carriers of high protein
• Development of food products high in protein and testing their acceptability and consumption
The successful MSc/PhD candidate will work under the supervision of a cross-disciplinary team of collaborators, in IT Sligo, University of Limerick and external, and will avail of a wide range of expertise in Food Chemistry, Food Processing, Human Nutrition and Sensory and Consumer Science.

Funding Notes

Bursaries have two elements:
a.Maintenance grant €13,000 p.a.
b.Tuition fees (currently €819 p.a.) will be paid by the Institute for all holders of student bursaries. Students are liable for their registration fee. The registration fee for 2019-2020 8 is €3,000 p.a. This will be deducted from maintenance grant, with the balance - €10k paid directly to the awardee’s account, monthly. Annual Award: €13,819
A further allocation for consumables may be made, on a case-by-case basis, up to €2k p/a for desk-based projects and €4k p/a for laboratory/field based projects, available for drawdown during the bursary period, but no later.

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