Ingredients & Shelf Life: Pulse Power – Understanding Pulses through Bioinformatics for Egg Replacement

Due to ever increasing prices of eggs, market volatility, and consumers that are steadily moving away from animal based foods in favor of more sustainable plant based protein sources, egg replacers have started to creep into the $7 billion market that makes up traditional egg sales. This has put pressure on the baking industry to find suitable egg replacements, but solutions remain elusive on account of the wide range of functions eggs play in baked goods, including adding to structure and providing emulsification. Pulses, including peas, are the most common source of sustainable protein to replace eggs in baked goods. One promising tool to help identify the most suitable pulse based egg replacers is bioinformatics, a technology that revolutionized genetics and biomedical sciences, and is now the base of the “foodomics” movement. Utilizing this technology, ingredient development companies can quickly and easily create structural models of plant based proteins and compare their functionality to proteins in eggs, all on open source software. In this presentation, I will give an introduction to egg functionality in cake, bioinformatics, and how this new technology can be used to identify functional pulse proteins for egg replacement cheaper and faster than current methods.

Learning Objectives

  1. Understand the primary functions of eggs as an ingredient in baked goods, especially cakes and others sweet goods
  2. Introduction to bioinformatics, what it is and what software is currently available for use, and how they may be applied to identify egg replacers
  3. Identify which pulse based proteins are currently available and may make suitable replacers for eggs, interpreted through a bioinformatic lens

Harrison Helmick
Purdue University