Aside from their technical merits - they have a neutral taste and work well in blends - rice bran proteins can also be marketed as non-GMO and non-allergenic, explained RiceBran Tech chief executive W. John Short and senior VP business development, Dr Robert Smith.
They are also a more sustainable form of protein in that they are from rice-bran, a by-product of rice-milling, said Dr Smith.
"This is a source of protein that is non-allergenic, from a domestic source - the rice is grown in California and all processing is done in the US - with a very balanced amino acid profile that's well suited to nutritional markets."
Up to 70% of the nutritional value of the rice is in the bran
By arresting the enzymatic reaction that causes raw rice bran to deteriorate after milling, RiceBran Technologies can stabilize the bran and produce a range of ingredients from rice bran oil to soluble and insoluble fibers and proteins, says the firm, which can now produce commercial quantities of rice bran protein ingredients from its site in Dillon, Montana, “without the use of solvents, acids or bases”.
The company's first protein ingredients are PRORYZA P-35: A 35% water-dispersible rice bran protein extract for beverage applications; and PRORYZA PF-20/50: A 20% rice bran protein and 50% insoluble rice bran dietary fiber product suitable for bars, shakes, and other health products, said Short.
"Other rice proteins are from the endosperm or the germinated seed, but in fact 70% of the nutritional value of the rice is in the bran component. Of this, about 14-15% is protein, and sometimes more, whereas the protein content of the rice endosperm is more like 6-7%."
Several hundred food and beverage manufacturers are currently playing with samples of the new proteins and early feedback has been very positive, he said.