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The substitution of meat products in the human diet with plant-based analogs is growing due to environmental, ethical, and health reasons. In this study, the potential of fiber-spinning technology was explored to spin protein fiber mimicking the structural element of meat muscle for the purpose of developing plant-based meat analogs. Overall, this approach involved extruding fine fibers and then assembling them into hierarchical fibrous structures resembling those found in whole muscle meat products. Considering the nutritional facts and to help build muscle fiber, soy protein, polysaccharide (pectin, xanthan gum, or carrageenan), plasticizer (glycerol), and water were used in the formulations to spin into fibers using an extruder with circular orifice dies. Extrudability and thermal and rheological properties were assessed to characterize the properties of the spun fiber. The extrusion trials showed that the presence of the polysaccharides increased the cohesiveness of the fibers. The properties of the fibers produced also depended on the temperature used during extrusion, varying from pasty gels to elastic strands. The extrudability of the fibers was related to the rheological properties (tan δ) of the formulations. This study demonstrated that fiber-spinning technology can be used to produce fibrous materials from plant-derived ingredients. However, the formulation and operating conditions must be optimized to obtain desirable physicochemical and functional attributes in the fibers produced.
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Joshi, Kartik; Shabani, Elnaz; Fijul Kabir, S. M.; Zhou, Hualu; McClements, David Julian; and Park, Jay Hoon, "Optimizing Protein Fiber Spinning to Develop Plant-Based Meat Analogs via Rheological and Physicochemical Analyses" (2023). Foods. 78.