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TFTAK Research
Projects

DEVELOPMENT OF MYCOPROTEIN PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGY
 

Project nr: RE.5.04.23-0212

 

Project time: 01.04.2023 - 31.03.2025

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The aim of the project is to develop a technology for growing filamentous fungi on a laboratory scale. Mycoprotein, derived from the biomass of filamentous fungi, is a good alternative to both animal products and plant-based alternatives, as it requires significantly less water, land, and has a lower carbon footprint for production. The mycoprotein production reactor can be set up in any location, and production is not affected by weather conditions, ensuring local food security.

DIGIFOUNDRY - AUTOMATED PLATFORM FOR PRECISION FERMENTATION PROCESS DEVELOPMENT

Project nr: RE.5.04.23-0218

 

Project time: 01.05.2023 - 30.04.2026

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The aim of the project is to develop a technology for growing filamentous fungi on a laboratory scale. Mycoprotein, derived from the biomass of filamentous fungi, is a good alternative to both animal products and plant-based alternatives, as it requires significantly less water, land, and has a lower carbon footprint for production. The mycoprotein production reactor can be set up in any location, and production is not affected by weather conditions, ensuring local food security.

DEVELOPMENT OF PRECISION FERMENTATION FOR FOOD PROTEINS

Project nr: RE.5.04.23-0316

 

Project time: 01.06.2023 - 31.05.2024

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Precision fermentation is a rapidly developing and expanding industry where microorganisms are used to produce proteins instead of using plant or animal sources. Within the scope of this project, a platform for precision fermentation of food proteins, also known as recombinant expression in yeast culture, is being developed at TFTAK, along with the purification of these proteins. The platform is integrated into existing workflows for the assessment of technologically important properties of food proteins.

Determination of fermentation process parameters of non-alcoholic beverages using different starter cultures and growth environments

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Aim of the project: During the project different starter cultures were tested in order to produce non-alcoholic fermented beverages. The aim of the project was to describe the growth parameters of different starter cultures in different growth environments and the properties of the obtained final products.

Evaluation of the suitability of fiber for the production of functional milk products with extended shelf life

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Aim of the project: This project investigates the possibilities for the industrial production of dairy products enriched with different fiber. In addition, research is being carried out to develop and implement a new quality system based on metagenomic methods.

Competence Centre Program

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Center of Food and Fermentation Technologies (TFTAK) was founded on June 15th 2004 by Tallinn University of Technology and six partner companies. TFTAK offers extensive knowledge both in food and fermentation science. The technological base of TFTAK is regarded contemporary and sufficient for carrying out research in the food and fermentation technology field.

High throughput platform for growth improvement of microorganisms 

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Aim of the project: There are hundreds of different microbes in the human gut. Many could be useful as probiotics but growing them in larger amounts is technically difficult. Most of these microbes are obligate anaerobes and do not tolerate oxygen. During this project we develop a platform technology for the growth medium optimization for anaerobic bacteria. This technology speeds up the discovery process and paves the way for the next generation probiotics

EU48667 Development of analytical service platform and innovation in food technologies 

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Duration: Jul 1, 2015 - Jun 30, 2022  Aim of the project: Two scientific directions are introduced in the project EU48667: 1) Development of analytical service platform for bio-food process monitoring and control together with development of systems and synthetic biology platforms for high throughput cell research and design, and; 2) Development of Food Technologies to support the innovative activities in Estonian food- and biochemical companies. An objective of the Project is motivate the enterprises to create the innovative products in cooperation with R&D institutions and companies. Project is supported by EU European Regional Development Fund in the sum of 5 697 954,91 EUR. 

The possibility to offer personalized food options in the conditions of large kitchen production and in retail 

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Aim of the project: The aim was to explore how innovative IT solutions and laboratory analyses could be linked and the personalized nutritional recommendations provided in a retail setting, so that it would support the customer's healthy choices. 

Enhanced application of plant proteins and side streams through degradation of antinutritional factors, RESTA17 

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Duration: Jul 1, 2020 - Apr 30, 2021  Aim of the project: The use of plant proteins and by-products for the development of new plant-based foods is limited due to the high content of antinutrients in these materials. Antinutrients are compounds that have been shown to have negative effects on human health and are found in legumes, cereals, and oilseeds. As a result, the consumers' attitude toward plant-based foods can often be negative. The research project aims at reducing the content of antinutrients in plant protein concentrates and oil extraction by-products using enzyme treatment, fermentation, and physical processing techniques, and to develop methods for the quantitative determination of antinutrients: phytates, saponins, vicine, and convicine. The know-how obtained as a result of the project and the technological solutions implemented, set the basis for the development, technology transfer, and successful production of innovative nutritious plant-based food products. 

EU29994 R&D support to Estonian food industry by carrying out fundamental and applied research in the relevant fields 

Duration: Jul 1, 2009 - Jun 30, 2015  Aim of the project: Center of Food and Fermentation Technologies (TFTAK) offered the R&D support to Estonian food industry by carrying out fundamental and applied research in the relevant fields, as well as through the availability of modern methods, laboratory infrastructure and highly competent R&D team during the period 2009-2015. As a result, new healthy, nutritious and natural food products with stable and high quality were brought to themarket. The involvement of international food and biotechnological companies (DuPont, Lallemand Inc. and Valio Ltd.) in the activities of TFTAK promoted international cooperation of Estonian food industry. Center of Food and Fermentation Technologies also develops new high throughput, advanced cultivation technology as well as modeling methods for quantitative analysis of cell physiology, process simulations, ab initio cell and process design, which are required for physiological characterization of microbial cultures in process and product development in both bio- and food technology. The results of the work are internationally available through the partners of TFTAK. The partnership with TFTAK encourages industrial partners to make long term investments into the R&D infrastructure with the aim to have new innovative solutions in a longer perspective. 

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Valorizing the pulp residue from the production of apple juice and fermented apple juice to applesauce and applesauce-based products, 616215780009 

Duration: Oct 1, 2015 - Sep 30, 2018 

Aim of the project: Valorizing the pulp residue from the production of apple juice and fermented apple juice to applesauce and applesauce-based products 

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Systems biology platform for the creation of lean-proteome Escherichia coli strains (LEANPROT) 

Duration: Dec 1, 2015 - Nov 30, 2018 

Aim of the project: Escherichia coli is a well-established and the most widely used organism for the production of recombinant proteins (used in medical and industrial applications, as molecular biology reagents, etc.). Production of proteins is the most resource exhaustive process for the cells and therefore needs to be optimized to achieve maximal productivities. Natural environment of E. coli is much harsher compared to the near optimal growth conditions used in production processes. In order to survive cells produce many native proteins that could be considered unnecessary for the cells in industrial production conditions. In this project, we aimed at removing the most resource exhaustive unnecessary proteins from the host cells to free up resources for recombinant protein production. We focused on this by using a novel metabolic modelling approach with constraints of protein production and cell geometry together with proteomics-based host cell physiology characterization. Novel lean-proteome strains with removed unnecessary proteins were tested for the improved production capacity of several recombinant proteins used in research, industry and diagnostics. 

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Systems biology platform for the creation of lean-proteome Escherichia coli strains (LEANPROT) 

Duration: Dec 1, 2015 - Nov 30, 2018 

Aim of the project: Escherichia coli is a well-established and the most widely used organism for the production of recombinant proteins (used in medical and industrial applications, as molecular biology reagents, etc.). Production of proteins is the most resource exhaustive process for the cells and therefore needs to be optimized to achieve maximal productivities. Natural environment of E. coli is much harsher compared to the near optimal growth conditions used in production processes. In order to survive cells produce many native proteins that could be considered unnecessary for the cells in industrial production conditions. In this project, we aimed at removing the most resource exhaustive unnecessary proteins from the host cells to free up resources for recombinant protein production. We focused on this by using a novel metabolic modelling approach with constraints of protein production and cell geometry together with proteomics-based host cell physiology characterization. Novel lean-proteome strains with removed unnecessary proteins were tested for the improved production capacity of several recombinant proteins used in research, industry and diagnostics. 

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Fermentation of oat protein for application in extruded meat analogues 

Duration: Jan 1, 2019 - Aug 31, 2020 

Aim of the project: Aim of the project was to develop a pilot-scale production method of extruded meat analogs made from fermented oat protein mixture. Nutritional, textural and sensory profiles were evaluated to achieve nutritious products. 

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Design and application of novel levansucrase catalysts for the production of functional food ingredients (Functional Food Ingredients), 3.2.0701.12–0041 

Duration: Oct 1, 2012 - Aug 31, 2015 

Aim of the project: Competence Center of Food and Fermentation Technologies, as a partner of the project asserted and coordinated by Tiina Alamäe at University of Tartu (Project no. SLOMR12215T). The project ´Functional Food Ingredients (FFI) is directly related to biotechnology and will implement our previously obtained knowledge on microbiology, biochemistry, enzymology, biosafety, fermentation and food technologies for the development of ingredients of functional food. Levan type poly- and oligofructans were evaluated for their assumingly elevated potential as (i) prebiotic substrates for beneficial gut bacteria, (ii) sugar substitute in dairy foods, (iii) coating/modifying material to enhance the efficacy of mineral food supplements in a nanoparticulate form. For that, the effects of enzymatically synthesized levan and levan-type FOS were compared with those already recognized as functional food supplements (e.g., inulin and inulin-type FOS). 

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Fiber enrichment of yogurt, shelf life assessment, EU50739 

Duration: Sep 9, 2016 - Dec 31, 2016 

Aim of the project: The aim of the work was to develop a fiber enriched yogurt with stable quality, which meets consumer taste expectations and promotes digestation. 

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Development of Värska mineral-based product, EU50716 

Duration: Sep 1, 2016 - Feb 28, 2017 

Aim of the project: The aim of the project was to create a healthy carbonated beverage brand and product portfolio, using natural sources. 

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Favorit – Plant-Based Milk Alternatives (RE.5.02.22-0181)

Aim of the project:  The demand for plant-based milk alternatives is constantly increasing and more products based on plant-based ingredients are being sought after, which are both tasty and healthy, with high nutritional value. Currently, imported soy or palm oil is often used as raw material, which is not sustainable or acceptable to consumers. The advantage of the products developed in the FAVORIT project is the use of local raw materials (oats, field peas and rapeseed oil), high nutritional value (high protein content) and the addition of health-promoting bacterial cultures to the products.
Objective: The objective of the FAVORIT project is to develop a series of plant-based milk alternatives based on oats and barley, the impact of which on health indicators will be assessed upon consumption.
Fund Name: Eurostars-3
Grant Amount: 181 978 EUR

Isolation of novel rootstock for fermentation of vegetable milk-like products (VegeFerm) 2014-2020.4.02.21-0343

Aim of the project:  The development of plant-based milk and meat analogs has been rapidly increasing and is still rising all over the world. The currently available starter cultures are originally isolated from milk and do not guarantee excellent fermentation of plant analogs, so it is necessary to find plant-derived strains or microbial consortia that would work well in plant matrices. For bacterial strains used as starters, it is important to have rapid growth, acidification capacity, breakdown of antinutrients and the formation of appropriate sensory properties. In terms of sensory properties, it is important to form textures, tastes and aromas similar to dairy products, so in addition to isolating new strains at the beginning of the project, one of the goals is to precisely map the sensory and molecular properties of dairy products.
Objective: The aim of the project is to develop a high-throughput platform consisting of methods for the isolation, characterization and adaptation of plant-derived bacterial strains and consortia in plant raw materials, in order to create a basis for the development and production of novel plant-based dairy products.
Fund Name: European Regional Development Fund
Grant Amount: 360 106.08 EUR

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Health Account 2014-2020.4.02.21-0338

Aim of the project:  The proportion of chronic diseases in the welfare society is increasing every year, due to unhealthy diet and lifestyle. At the same time, there are no easily manageable methods for preventing diseases. In the field of health services there is a lack of reliable information to base one's health improvement on, as well as effective technical solutions that help people monitor their lifestyle habits on a daily basis and take corrective action.
Objective: The applicant Elsavie's objective is to create a preventive-oriented health and wellbeing platform "Health Account" that gives the user control over their health data and enables them to make the right decisions with the help of reliable partners.
TFTAK's long-term goal is to create a nutrition research platform that can be used to analyze the effect of new foods or food components on human health. With the data collection system to be created and the algorithms and microbio-friendly foods/diets to be developed, we aim to show that the microbio and other health indicators can be improved in the desired direction.

Result: For Elsavie, a secure and user-friendly management system and data analysis system will be created, which will allow the customer to receive dietary recommendations based on their health indicators. As a result of TFTAK's work, convenient and fast methods for collecting and analyzing dietary data will be developed. Another result is an in vitro food component testing method which can be used to evaluate the effect of selected food components on the human gut microbiome. Identifying the connections between food components and the microbiome is the basis for creating algorithms that can automatically calculate dietary recommendations based on a person's health data. TFTAK will also create databases and criteria for collecting health indicators and solving selected health problems.
Fund Name: European Regional Development Fund
Grant Amount: 1 298 343.75 EUR

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Creating an industrial production platform for optimizing consortia of probiotic microorganisms (CoFerm) 2014-2020.4.02.21-0406

Aim of the project:  Research on human gut consortia has significantly intensified in the last few years. However, currently there is no technology that allows for the effective production of new generations of probiotics as a consortium. Existing solutions are largely based on the production of individual species and subsequent mixing. Such an approach is difficult to apply when it is necessary to produce tens or even hundreds of species. The consortia of interest to TFTAK and our clients are different, so it is important to develop a comprehensive platform that allows for the development of consortia production processes in the shortest possible time. The number of species produced in the consortium is determined by the specific growth substrates for each species in our solution. In addition, TFTAK's technology is based on modeling of cell metabolism and the identification of natural metabolic interactions.

Goal: The goal of this project is to develop a platform that allows for the efficient development of growth environments and conditions that ensure the production of stable consortia at an industrial level. For the development of the platform, a simplified 25-bacteria model consortium from the human gut has been created from previous studies. This is used to optimize production processes as a base consortium, demonstrating the platform's capabilities.
Fund Name: European Regional Development Fund
Grant Amount: 232 964 EUR

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Center of Food and Fermentation Technologies digital transformation 20.1.01.22-0271

Aim of the project:  The project aims to implement and integrate customer management software in AS Food and Fermentation Technology Development Center, develop and implement laboratory and warehouse management software and integrate project management and accounting software. As a result of the project, greater efficiency will be achieved, significant information security risks will be mitigated, and the basis for scaling services in the international market will be created.

Goal and results: The TFTAK that has undergone a digital transformation can be described as a digital house, in which data flows originating from processes are connected to a back-end analytics system through software bridges. The task of the back-end analytics system forming the roof of the house is to analyze completed projects, to obtain information from quotations and other systems, and to help keep the company's profit margin as accurate as possible, providing reliable data to managers for decision-making at every level and for deeper business analysis. The foundation of the house is TFTAK's processes. The existing and implemented software are the bridges that connect the processes to the back-end analytics system.
Fund name: European Union - NextGenerationEU
Grant amount: 280 586.50 EUR

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Expanding the application possibilities of inactive yeast products from 2014-2020.4.02.21-0375

Aim of the project:  The aims of the development of meat-analog products within the project are to use yeast extracts as precursors of aromas, as components providing structure, and as maskers of secondary flavours and aromas. To better apply the yeast extracts as feed components for microorganisms, a platform is being developed to create a suitable yeast extract for each interesting bacterial species, based on its metabolic peculiarities.
Goal: The applicant of the project, Salutaguse Yeast Factory, aims to open up applications for inactive yeast products (yeast extracts, autolysates, inactive yeast) in the development of plant analog products and as industrial bacterial growth feed components. The long-term goal of TFTAK is to increase its competence in the development of high-quality meat analogs and to develop a platform for optimizing the composition of the yeast extracts and for more conscious use in the cultivation of bacteria.

Result: One of the main results of the project is the additional mapping of existing malt products usage areas, which allows Salutaguse Pärmitehas to offer its customers a personalized approach - the additional information obtained from the project allows for the specification of the product to be significantly specified and, thanks to this, to recommend the products that best meet the needs of the customers, both in terms of growth nutrients and plant-based foods. The developed technology platform will allow to customize malt extracts for any microorganism species in the future, which will be industrially important in the future, creating long-term benefits for both the industry partner and TFTAK. Furthermore, this application study will help TFTAK to create competence in developing tasty plant-based alternatives, allowing them to offer even higher quality development services to their customers in the future.
Fund Name: European Regional Development Fund
Grant Amount: 1 015 640,47 EUR

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Better Fish - Fish Alternative Product Development (RE.5.02.21-0162, E115609) 

Aim of the project: The Better Fish project aims to develop filamentous fungi cultivation technology and create high-protein and good sensory alternatives to fish fillets that are high in protein, contain essential fatty acids from microalgae and D-vitamin. As a result of the project, new generation plant-based products that are tasty, environmentally friendly and healthy will reach the market.
Goal: The goal of the project is to develop a fully plant-based alternative to fish fillets based on the cultivation of filamentous fungi. For the production of fungal biomass, by-products from the food industry are used as growth substrates, and to improve the nutritional value and organoleptic properties, encapsulated microalgae are added, which contain beneficial fatty acids and vitamins.

Result: As a result of the project, a fully plant-based high-nutritional value fish fillet alternative production technology will be developed and prototype end products will be produced. The solution is novel, as the technology allows for the production of products that mimic the taste, texture and nutritional value of fish, while having a lower environmental impact. The combination of by-products and solid-state cultivation enables significant cost reduction in production, which ensures a competitive advantage for the products.
Fund Name: Eurostars-2
Grant Amount: 298 820.00 EUR

TFTAK TA infrastructure development RE.5.04.22-0138

Aim of the project: To enhance the quality of services in the fields of cultivation technologies, plant-based milk alternatives and alternative protein technologies by expanding the range of TFTAK's pilot equipment and precision analytics equipment.
Goal: The goal of the project is to upgrade the services of TFTAK in the fields of cultivation technologies, plant-based milk alternatives and alternative proteins, in order to improve the quality of services and expand the range of services offered.
Result: As a result of the project, the high-performance product and technology development platform of TFTAK will be significantly enhanced. Thanks to the additional pilot equipment, we are able to serve more customers at the same time and, thanks to operational analyses, make quick decisions to improve processes, which in turn will help us take our agile development service to a new level. With the additional pilot equipment we can provide customers with support in the technology transfer phase, so that solutions developed in the laboratory can be easily implemented in the production environment.
Fund Name: European Regional Development Fund
Grant Amount: 365 053,50 EUR

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VTA EU53368

Aim of the Project: The marketing activities of the Food and Fermentation Technology Development Center focus on increasing the value of the customer portfolio and securing up to two new major customers. In addition, the priorities are to test and introduce new products and services (new business areas), develop own products and create sales channels. To achieve this, we consider improving sales and marketing capabilities in the company to achieve goals as key activities.
Goal: To increase the value of the customer portfolio and secure new major customers by increasing the marketing activities and sales potential of the Food and Fermentation Technology Development Center.
Result: We will achieve our goals through regular publications, presentations at conferences and professional seminars, wider media coverage of success stories, and active participation in exhibitions and conferences. In addition, organizing conferences and developing seminar formats suitable for the Estonian target group are also important. All of these activities are supported by improving visibility in online channels (website, Facebook and LinkedIn). A marketing strategy, action plan and resources have been created to better plan marketing activities, with the aim of achieving the goals set in the strategy. The marketing strategy focuses mainly on increasing TFTAK's visibility among our target group, improving competitiveness and increasing the export potential of research and development services, allowing us to attract more influential clients with research-intensive development projects.
Fund Name: European Regional Development Fund
Grant Amount: 113 695.00 EUR

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