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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Food Science

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Plant-derived protein such as pea protein is a promising replacement for animal protein and is becoming popular in recent years because of its high nutritional value and potential reduction of environmental footprint. However, the increasing demand for plant-derived proteins is accompanied by the increase of wastes during protein processing such as wastewater containing dilute protein content, which may raise the cost for the downstream processing. Therefore, there is an emerging need to develop novel processing strategies to reduce waste while valorizing useful ingredients. Several researchers suggest that foam fractionation technology can be a viable approach to extract and concentrate protein from dilute wastewater effluent. This technology has already been applied to the chemical and food industry for the extraction of surfactant and animal proteins from wastewater. To design and apply foam fractionation to the plant-derived protein industry, fundamental knowledge on foaming properties of dilute plant-derived protein solution is needed and is currently lacking. Therefore, the objective of this thesis is to advance a fundamental understanding of the foaming properties of dilute pea protein solutions (protein concentration ≤ 1wt%). To achieve the objective, a multiscale approach is used, which is comprised of a detailed investigation of both bulk and interfacial properties of pea protein solutions and foaming properties such as foaming capacity and stability with the help of bubble structure and foam volume kinetics. The focus of this thesis is on the effect of protein concentration. Results demonstrate that protein adsorption kinetics can be characterized by four distinctive regimes: lag phase, diffusion-limited regime, transitional regime, and conformation change regime, which are highly dependent on the protein concentration. However, apparent viscosity is less affected by the protein concentration. Results also show that depending on the protein concentration, two regimes can be distinguished for foam capacity and foam stability. For the first time, these regimes can be rationalized by contrasting characteristics times of protein adsorption kinetics and processing time scale – residence time of bubbles during the foam formation. New findings from this fundamental research will shed light on the control and optimization of foaming properties of plant-derived protein solutions for applications ranging from food processing design to food product development.


First Advisor

Jiakai Lu

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.