Background: RuBisCO was extracted from sugar beet leaves using soft and food-compatible technologies. Proximate composition, solubility, emulsifying, foaming and gelling properties of the protein isolate were determined. All these properties were systematically benchmarked against commercial whey and soy protein isolates used in food applications. Results: RuBisCO protein isolate (RPI) contained 930 g kg−1 of crude protein. Protein solubility was higher than 80% at pH values lower than 4.0 or higher than 5.5. Foaming capacity of RPI was better at pH 4.0 than at pH 7.0. Interestingly, 10 g kg−1 protein foams were more stable (pH 7.0 and 4.0) than foams obtained with whey or soy protein. Moreover, 10 g kg−1 RPI emulsions at pH 4.0 or 7.0 exhibited good stability, being similar to whey protein isolate. Remarkable gelling properties were observed at pH 7.0, where 50 g kg−1 protein solutions of RPI formed self-supporting gels while more concentrated solutions were needed for whey or soy protein. Conclusion: RuBisCO showed comparable or superior functional properties to those of currently used whey and soy protein isolates. These results highlight the high potential of sugar beet leaf protein isolate as a nutritious and functional food ingredient to face global food security and protein supply.
- green leaf protein
- sugar beet