Development of bioactive gels based on protein by-products from crayfish-processing industry

Project facts

Project promoter
University of Seville
Project Number:
Target groups
Researchers or scientists
Initial project cost:
Final project cost:
From EEA Grants:
€ 15,825
The project is carried out in:


The project is needed due to the revalorisation of industrial byproducts. It would lead to a reduction in environmental costs and to achieve an adequate methodology, obtaining traditional food products with improved microstructural, functional, bioactive and antioxidant properties that may contribute to human health. The overall objective is the development of scientific and technological knowledge that lead to a valorisation of protein by-products industry based on its protein content. The project is based on the thermal gelation in order to develop products with suitable microstructure, texture and bioactive ability that may be helpful for human health. The University of Seville, the project promoter, shows great experience in gelation and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) (Norway), the donor partner, is a relevant group in the bio-characterization and in the textural characterization of gels. The results of this study may be useful to control protein gelation kinetics. It is expected that undenatured crayfish protein-based gels will hold bioactive abilities. The Scientific Community will benefit from the project results.

Summary of project results

The project emerged as a collaboration between Spanish and Norwegian research groups which are highly complementary. Spanish group has expertise in the development of food products from alternative sources; and the Norwegian is focused in the chemical, bioactive, quality and stability of seafood products. One of the main aims of the project was the incorporation of the scientific knowledge allowing the Spanish research group the assessment of the bioactivity of food products, since food nutritional-quality improvements are demanded by the society. This collaboration could enable the manufacture of value-added products exhibiting health promoting properties (e-g- antioxidant activity). In addition, the Spanish research group uses alternative raw material sources to produce food products. Most of these alternative sources are by-products from the food industry. The use of these by-products is quite interesting, because even if the nutritional potential is high (the protein quality is very acceptable), it is very difficult to manufacture food products, since these protein concentrates do not have food functional properties which would allow them to be used to produce desirable food products. The use of hydrolysis, which would permit significant improvement of the functional properties, was proposed in order to improve the technical quality of these products. The project focused on producing and characterizing bioactive gels from crayfish proteins (hydrolysate and non-hydrolysate systems). During the project the following measurements were performed: physiochemical characterization of protein derivatives; characterization of the water-protein systems; gel formation; microstructural characterization; bioactivity assessment. All results were analysed in order to select those systems showing a better balance of properties (texture and rheological properties, microstructure and physical stability, bioactivity), and conditions improving gelation kinetics were also found. On the one hand, training of the Spanish researcher in chemistry and chemical engineering has allowed to produce satisfactory gels with reasonable physical and functional properties. On the other hand, the experience of the Norwegian research group in food technology and biotechnology has contributed to achieve the objectives related to the biochemistry, mainly the bioactive characterization, as well as to obtain hydrolysates systems which are quite important to improve functional properties.

Summary of bilateral results

One of the objectives of the proposal was to establish a new cooperation between both research groups. Since the group in Sevilla showed a great deal of experienced in gelation process (chemical engineering) and the group in Norway is a relevant team in bio-characterization of food products. For this reason, both teams are very complementary in the field of design and development of food products. The main technical contribution of the Norwegian side has been to add bioactive characterization to the typical mechanical characterization that was previously performed by the Spanish research group to protein systems. Results obtained are sustainable because they shall allow the use of techniques learned in other proteins systems. Also they will be shared with Alfocan S.L, a company located in the Guadalquivir Marches, the larger producer of Crayfish product in the South of Spain. They shall also be shared with PEVESA, an important company located in the South of Spain, with a large experience in the use of proteins system (mainly vegetable proteins).