Water lentils - which double their biomass in 24 - 36 hours and can be harvested every day - have obvious advantages over other plant protein sources in that they grow incredibly rapidly and can be harvested in raceways (open-air ponds similar to those in which algae is grown commercially – although the water lentil is not a type of algae) all year around, said the company.
“The protein in LENTEIN is similar to that of an animal protein, which is unheard of in the plant protein category. LENTEIN contains levels of Essential Amino Acids and BCAA’s comparable to whey, higher than other plant proteins including soy, and has a PDCAAS of .93.”
The first product in the portfolio is LENTEIN Complete, which contains 45% protein, is soluble, heat-stable, "mild and sweet" tasting, and has a foaming quality that works well in beverages, but can also be used in bars and snacks, marketing manager Cecilia Wittbjer fold FoodNavigator-USA.
"In the USA several protein supplements have been launched with LENTEIN but we also have many projects that involve pasta, noodles, bakery and snacks all around the world. The inclusion levels usually vary between 5% for snacks to 35% for ready to mix beverages and everything in between.
"The ingredients list should state: 'LENTEIN Complete (whole Lemnaceae protein powder)' and some companies have signed the licensing agreement to use our circular trademark to specifically point out that they have LENTEIN in their product. The most important benefit for them has been the amino acid profile which is similar to whey protein, which is unusual for a plant protein."
Parabel is also working on a protein concentrate, plus a paler 'de-greened' version, she said.
"Some companies are waiting for the de-greened because their products don’t do so well with the green color – the breakfast cereal industry for example - but mostly companies can see the benefit of the green for new projects they have. In the USA, green beverages are popular but in Asia green is used everywhere – even bakery. The green is stable in heat so that is a big benefit. The taste is mild and sweet so it’s easy to blend into the formulation."
Parabel USA currently produces 300 metric tons of product per year, with an additional 3,000t of capacity coming online in early 2019, said Wittbjer.
The world's smallest, free floating, flowering plant, the water lentil grows and reproduces faster than any other leafed plant. While it flowers, fruits and seeds, the water lentil has adapted to cloning as a favored means of reproduction - reproducing itself continuously.