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Yellow Pea Protein (Video)

Two researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada have developed the knowledge and expertise to extract very high-quality protein from yellow peas. Take a look at our video to learn more.

Video transcript

[Electronic percussion music starts.]

[Agriculture an Agri-Food logo and red maple leaf and title Yellow Pea Protein over the image of a gold crop field]

[Text on screen: Yellow Pea Protein]

Narrator: Legumes are an essential source of plant– and amino acid–based proteins. They're central to the diet of people of many different cultures. Canada is the largest producer and exporter of dry peas in the world. Saskatchewan is the province that produces the most dry peas. Two researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada have developed the knowledge and expertise to extract very high-quality protein from peas.

[Up close raw yellow and white peas, a variety of coloured peas arranged into groups to look like a spinning flower, a bowl of pea soup, pea pods on a tangle of dried vines, golden field under a blue sky. Two male researchers wearing white lab coats in their laboratory smile proudly. Dried brown peas tumble into a stainless steel bowl.]

Agriculture and AgriFood Canada Research Scientist Martin Mondor speaks in his laboratory: The current process used involves adding acids to precipitate the proteins. But this process damages the proteins, which makes it really impossible to incorporate them into food matrices. The ultrafiltration process, on the other hand, minimizes protein denaturation, so you end up with very high solubility.

[Tubes into and out of large stainless steel vats. A female scientist in a white lab coat and cap at a large vat, holds an testing instrument, monitors activity in the vat.]

[Clear watery liquid drains from 2 spigots.]

Martin Mondor speaks in his laboratory: It uses a lot fewer chemicals, but the result is just as good.

[Hands of a scientist shake flour into the opening of a machine.]

Martin Mondor speaks in his laboratory: The first step is to produce the flour. Extraction is simple. We suspend the flour in a quantity of water.

[Water is poured from a small glass into a glass funnel and tube.]

Martin Mondor speaks in his laboratory: The preferred ratio is one to ten. What happens is that the protein transfers from the flour in the alcohol phase or in the water. Next, we remove the residue and concentrate the protein solution by means of ultrafiltration. After drying it, we know that the product will be 90% pure protein.

[Flour from an over flowing cup is levelled with a knife blade.]

Agriculture and AgriFood Canada Research Scientist Dr. Sébastien Villeneuve in his laboratory speaks: We want it to be durable until consumption. Once it's in the digestive system, we want it to break down so the essential nutrient compounds will be assimilated. So we build a food with the goal of breaking it down in the digestive system.

[A machine kneads white dough in a small metal container, water is added by a small tube. Hands pull apart a piece of dough.]

Dr. Sébastien Villeneuve speaks: I work a lot with bread and pasta and the protein structure is really important. And if we're able to add an ingredient, it will integrate into the structure. When you compare it with other commercially available isolates, it's as if you're putting sand in the structure. So, there's nothing that takes. That's where we're seeing big differences.

[A loaf of bread spins vertically from a spit, a computer screen in the background shows graphic interpretation of data.]

Scientist Martin Mondor speaks: It's a lot cheaper to produce than animal protein.

[Loaves of bread stacked on a bakery shelf]

Martin Mondor speaks: What's also interesting is that it's gluten-free. We have a product—a protein isolate—which is vastly superior to what you can find on the market today.

Narrator: Consumer and industry interest in plant proteins is constantly growing, which bodes well since world population growth is inevitable.

[Time lapse of bread dough rising]

Dr. Sébastien Villeneuve speaks: You can't just add it to a food to make the food satisfying. There's quite a lot of research and development work that needs to be done. The future of plant proteins is really very promising.

[Dried peas are poured from a large beaker into another sitting of the top of a laboratory counter.]

[Text on screen: Modern. Innovative. Growing.
Discover other agricultural innovations at]

[Images of the dough kneading, the bowl of pea soup, the 2 scientists smiling, the water flowing out of the spigot, the bread dough rising]

[Canada wordmark on a white background.]

[Text on screen: ©Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (2016)]

[Electronic percussion music ends.]

[Fade to black]

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