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Title:
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR PRODUCING AN EXTRUDED PROTEIN PRODUCT
Document Type and Number:
WIPO Patent Application WO/2015/020660
Kind Code:
A1
Abstract:
The present disclosure relates to systems and methods for producing an extruded protein product. In particular, a system for making an extruded protein product using a system that includes a die apparatus with multiple channels is disclosed. Recent developments in extrusion have allowed for the production of extruded protein products made from animal derived and/or non-animal derived protein sources that have a substantially meat-like structure.

Inventors:
VAN LENGERICH, Bernhard H. (1855 Troy Lane North, Plymouth, Minnesota, 55447, US)
WEINSTEIN, James N. (18553 85th Avenue North, Maple Grove, Minnesota, 55311, US)
ROBIE, Steven C. (2725 Garland Lane, Plymouth, Minnesota, 55447, US)
WALTHER, Goeran (1650 Weston Lane North, Plymouth, Minnesota, 55447, US)
Application Number:
US2013/054145
Publication Date:
February 12, 2015
Filing Date:
August 08, 2013
Export Citation:
Click for automatic bibliography generation   Help
Assignee:
GENERAL MILLS, INC. (Number One General Mills Boulevard, P.O. Box 1113Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55440, US)
International Classes:
A21C3/04
Foreign References:
US5919509A
US5565234A
US20050064087A1
US20070207240A1
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
KAHLER, Rachel et al. (General Mills, Inc.Number One General Mills Boulevard,PO Box 111, Minneapolis Minnesota, 55440, US)
Download PDF:
Claims:
Patent

Attorney Case No. 7893 WOO 1

What is claimed is:

1. A method for producing an extruded protein product, the extruded protein product having a substantially meat-like structure and a protein content of from about 15% to about 90% based on dry weight of the extruded protein product, the method comprising:

a. producing a dough stream comprising a protein composition, the protein composition including a protein component and having a moisture content of at least 27%;

b. splitting the dough stream into two or more substreams;

c. directing each of the two or more substreams through its own channel, each channel configured to provide a substantially meat-like structure to the extruded protein product, the two or more substreams exiting the channels to produce the extruded protein product.

2. The method of claim 1, wherein the moisture content of the protein composition is from about 27% to about 85%.

3. The method of claim 2, wherein the moisture content of the protein composition is from about 60% to about 80%.

4. The method of claim 1, wherein the protein component comprises a non-animal derived protein.

5. The method of claim 1, further comprising directing the dough stream through a pump.

6. The method of claim 1, further comprising directing at least one of the two or more substreams through a pump.

7. The method of claim 1, further comprising adding an additive to the dough stream or a substream.

8. The method of claim 7, wherein the additive comprises one or more of a lipid, a coloring agent, a hydrocolloid, a carbohydrate, a softener or polyol, an enzyme, a pH adjusting agent, a salt, a macronutrient, or a micronutrient.

9. The method of claim 8, wherein the lipid comprises a non-animal derived lipid.

10. The method of claim 8, wherein the carbohydrate is selected from one or more of a native starch, a modified starch, a monosaccharide, an oligosaccharide, a soluble fiber, an insoluble fiber, or a modified fiber.

11. The method of claim 8, wherein the hydrocolloid is selected from one or more of a pectin, a gum, an alginate, a cellulose, an agar, a carrageenan.

12. The method of claim 7, wherein an additive is added to each substream.

13. The method of claim 12, wherein a different additive is added to each substream.

14. The method of claim 1, further comprising guiding the dough stream or a

substream through a static mixer.

15. The method of claim 14, wherein the static mixer is configured to at least partially mix an additive into the dough stream or substream.

16. The method of claim 15, wherein the additive comprises one or more of a lipid, a coloring agent, a hydrocolloid, a carbohydrate, a softener or polyol, an enzyme, a pH adjusting agent, a salt, a macronutrient, or a micronutrient.

17. The method of claim 15, wherein the additive is incompletely mixed into the

dough stream or substream.

18. The method of claim 7, wherein the additive provides a desired appearance or function in the extruded protein product.

19. The method of claim 1, wherein at least two substreams are rejoined.

20. The method of claim 19, wherein the at least two substreams are rejoined before exiting the one or more channel.

21. The method of claim 1, wherein the two or more substreams are of substantially controlled volumes.

22. The method of claim 21, wherein one or more valves are used to control the

volume of the two or more substreams.

23. The method of claim 21, wherein one or more pumps are used to control the

volume of the two or more substreams.

24. The method of claim 21, wherein an unpowered mechanical flow dividing device is used to control the volume of the two or more substreams.

25. The method of claim 1, wherein the extruded protein product is produced at a rate of greater than 600 pounds per hour from a single dough stream.

26. A method for producing an extruded protein product, the extruded protein product having a substantially meat-like structure and a protein content of from about 15% to about 90% based on dry weight of the extruded protein product, the method comprising:

a. producing a dough stream comprising a protein composition, the protein composition comprising a protein component and having a moisture content of at least 27%;

b. directing the dough stream through a transition apparatus, wherein the transition apparatus splits the dough stream into two or more substreams; c. directing each of the two or more substreams through a die apparatus

comprising a channel for each of the two or more substreams, each channel configured to provide a substantially meat-like structure to the extruded protein product, the two or more substreams exiting the die apparatus to produce the extruded protein product.

27. The method of claim 26, wherein the moisture content of the protein composition is from about 27% to about 85%.

28. The method of claim 27, wherein the moisture content of the protein composition is from about 60% to about 80%.

29. The method of claim 26, wherein the protein component comprises a non-animal derived protein.

30. The method of claim 26, wherein the die apparatus comprises two or more

modules.

31. The method of claim 30, wherein at least one of the two or more modules includes a static mixer.

32. The method of claim 30, wherein at least one of the two or more modules includes an additive port.

33. The method of claim 32, wherein an additive is added to a substream via the

additive port.

34. The method of claim 33, wherein the additive comprises one or more of a lipid, a coloring agent, a hydrocolloid, a carbohydrate, a softener or polyol, an enzyme, a pH adjusting agent, a salt, a macronutrient, or a micronutrient.

35. The method of claim 34, wherein the lipid is a non-animal derived lipid.

36. The method of claim 34, wherein the carbohydrate is selected from one or more of a native starch, a modified starch, a monosaccharide, an oligosaccharide, a soluble fiber, an insoluble fiber, and a modified fiber.

37. The method of claim 34, wherein the hydrocolloid is selected from one or more of a pectin, a gum, an alginate, a cellulose, an agar, a carrageenan.

38. The method of claim 34, wherein an additive is added to each substream.

39. The method of claim 38, wherein a different additive is added to each substream.

40. The method of claim 30, wherein at least one of the two or more modules is

configured to merge two or more channels.

41. The method of claim 26, wherein the dough stream is produced from an extruder.

42. The method of claim 26, wherein two or more of the channels are vertically or

horizontally arranged.

43. The method of claim 26, wherein two or more of the channels are arranged around an axis.

44. The method of claim 43, wherein the axis extends from an extruder outlet.

45. The method of claim 26, wherein each channel provides cooling along at least a

portion of its length.

46. A system for producing an extruded protein product, the system comprising:

a. twin screw extruder configured to produce a dough stream comprising a protein composition having a protein content of about 15% to about 90% based on dry weight of the protein composition and having a moisture content of at least 27%;

b. a transition apparatus configured to split the dough stream into two or more substreams; and

c. a die apparatus comprising a channel for each of the two or more substreams, each channel configured to provide a substantially meat-like structure to the extruded protein product.

47. The system of claim 46, wherein the transition apparatus comprises a pump.

48. The system of claim 46, wherein the transition apparatus comprises a valve.

49. The system of claim 46, wherein the transition apparatus comprises a stream

splitter.

50. The system of claim 46, wherein the transition apparatus comprises a means to pre- align portions of the dough stream to facilitate texturization.

51. The system of claim 46, wherein the die apparatus comprises two or more

modules.

52. The system of claim 51, wherein at least one of the two or more modules includes a static mixer.

53. The system of claim 51, wherein at least one of the two or more modules includes an additive port.

54. The system of claim 51 , wherein at least one of the two or more modules is

configured to merge two or more channels.

55. The system of claim 46, wherein two or more of the channels are vertically or horizontally arranged.

56. The system of claim 46, wherein two or more of the channels are arranged around an axis.

57. The system of claim 56, wherein the axis extends from an extruder outlet.

58. The system of claim 46, further comprising one or more cooling means

functionally associated with the die apparatus.

59. The system of claim 46, wherein the system is configured to produce the extruded protein product at a rate of at least 600 pounds per hour from one twin screw extruder.

60. An extruded protein product made by the method of claim 7.

61. An extruded protein product made by the method of claim 17.

62. An extruded protein product made by the method of claim 33.

Description:
SYSTEM AND METHOD FOR PRODUCING AN EXTRUDED PROTEIN

PRODUCT

TECHNOLOGY

The present disclosure generally relates to systems and methods for producing an extruded protein product.

BACKGROUND

Recent developments in extrusion have allowed for the production of extruded protein products made from animal derived and/or non-animal derived protein sources that have a substantially meat-like structure. Although taste and texture of such extruded protein products is approaching that of meat, thus far the rate of production has been limited. Thus, there is a need for methods and systems that can be used to produce an extruded protein product having a substantially meat-like structure at more commercially acceptable rates.

SUMMARY

In one embodiment, a method is provided for producing an extruded protein product having a substantially meat-like structure and a protein content of from about 15% to about 90%) based on dry weight of the extruded protein product. The method includes producing a dough stream comprising a protein composition, where the protein

composition includes a protein component and has a moisture content of at least 27%. The moisture content can be from about 27% to about 85% or from about 60% to about 80%. The protein component can contain a non-animal derived protein. The method also includes splitting the dough stream into two or more substreams. The substreams can be of substantially controlled volumes. The volumes of the substreams can be controlled using one or more valves, pumps, or unpowered mechanical flow dividing devices. The method also includes directing each of the substreams through its own channel, where each channel is configured to provide a substantially meat-like structure to the extruded protein, and where the two or more substreams exit the channels to produce the extruded protein product.

In some embodiments, the method further includes directing the dough stream or a substream through a pump.

In some embodiments, the method further includes adding an additive to the dough stream or a substream. The additive can be one or more of a lipid, a coloring agent, a hydrocolloid, a softener or polyol, a carbohydrate, an enzyme, a pH adjusting agent, a salt, a macronutrient, or a micronutrient. A lipid can comprise a non-animal derived lipid. A carbohydrate can comprise one or more of a native starch, a modified starch, a

monosaccharide, an oligosaccharide, a soluble fiber, an insoluble fiber, or a modified fiber. A hydrocolloid can comprise a pectin, a gum, an alginate, or a cellulose. In some embodiments, an additive can be added to each substream. Additives added to substreams can be the same or different for each substream. In some embodiments, an additive can provide a desired appearance or function in the extruded protein product.

In some embodiments, the method can further comprise guiding the dough stream or a substream through a static mixer. The static mixer can be configured to at least partially mix an additive into the dough stream or substream. In some embodiments, the static mixer can be configured to incompletely mix an additive into the dough stream or substream. The additive can be one or more of a lipid, a coloring agent, a hydrocolloid, a carbohydrate, a softener or polyol, an enzyme, a pH adjusting agent, a salt, a

macronutrient, or a micronutrient. A lipid can comprise a non-animal derived lipid.

In some embodiments, the method further includes rejoining at least two substreams. The substreams can be rejoined before exiting the one or more channel.

In another embodiment, a method is provided for producing an extruded protein product having a substantially meat-like structure and a protein content of from about 15% to about 90%) based on dry weight of the extruded protein product. The method includes producing a dough stream comprising a protein composition, where the protein

composition includes a protein component and has a moisture content of at least 27%. The moisture content can be from about 27% to about 85% or from about 60% to about

80%. The protein component can contain a non-animal derived protein. The method also includes directing the dough stream through a transition apparatus that splits the dough stream into two or more substreams. The substreams can be of substantially controlled volumes. The volumes of the substreams can be controlled using one or more valves, pumps, or unpowered mechanical flow dividing devices. The method also includes directing each of the substreams through a die apparatus comprising a channel for each of the two substreams, where each channel is configured to provide a substantially meat-like structure to the extruded protein, and where the two or more substreams exit the channels to produce the extruded protein product. In some embodiments, the channels can be vertically or horizontally arranged. In some embodiments, the channels can be arranged around an axis, such as an axis extending from an extruder outlet.

In some embodiments, the die apparatus can include two or more modules. A module can include a static mixer or an additive port. In some embodiments, a module can be configured to merge two or more channels.

In some embodiments, the method can further include adding an additive to a substream via an additive port. The additive can be one or more of a lipid, a coloring agent, a hydrocolloid, a carbohydrate, a softener or polyol, an enzyme, a pH adjusting agent, a salt, a macronutrient, or a micronutrient. A lipid can comprise a non-animal derived lipid. A carbohydrate can comprise one or more of a native starch, a modified starch, a monosaccharide, an oligosaccharide, a soluble fiber, an insoluble fiber, or a modified fiber. A hydrocolloid can comprise a pectin, a gum, an alginate, or a cellulose. In some embodiments, an additive can be added to each substream. An additive added to substreams can be the same or different for each substream. In some embodiments, an additive can provide a desired appearance or function in the extruded protein product.

In some embodiments, a dough stream can be produced from an extruder.

In another embodiment, a system for producing an extruded protein product is provided. The system includes a twin screw extruder configured to produce a dough stream, where the dough stream comprises protein composition having a protein content of about 15% to about 90% based on dry weight of the protein composition and has a moisture content of at least 27%. The system also includes a transition apparatus configured to split the dough stream into two or more substreams and a die apparatus comprising a channel for each of the two or more substreams, where each channel is configured to provide a substantially meat-like structure to the extruded protein product. In some embodiments, the transition apparatus can include one or more of a pump, a valve, a stream splitter, or a means to pre-align portions of the dough stream to facilitate texturization.

In some embodiments, the die apparatus can include two or more modules. A module can comprise a static mixture or an additive port. A module can be configured to merge two or more channels.

In some embodiments, the two or more channels can be arranged vertically or horizontally. In some embodiments, the two or more channels can be arranged around an axis. In some embodiments, the two or more channels can be arranged around an axis extending from an outlet of the twin screw extruder.

In some embodiments, the system can further comprise a cooling means functionally associated with at least a portion of the die apparatus.

In some embodiments, the methods and systems provided herein can produce greater than 600 pounds per hour from one twin screw extruder.

An extruded protein product made by a provided method including adding an additive is also provided.

These and various other features and advantages will be apparent from a reading of the following detailed description.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINC

Figure 1 shows a cross sectional side view of a system according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 2 shows a cross sectional side view of a system according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 3 shows a cross sectional side view of a system according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 4 shows a cross sectional side view of a system according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 5 shows a cross sectional side view of a system according to an embodiment of the present invention. Figure 6 shows a cross sectional side view of a modular die apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 7 shows a cross sectional end view of a die apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 8 shows a cross sectional end view of a die apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 9 shows a cross sectional end view of a die apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 10 shows a cross sectional end view of a die apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 11 shows a cross sectional end view of a die apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 12 shows a cross sectional end view of a die apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 13 shows a cross sectional end view of a die apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 14 shows a cross sectional end view of a die apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention.

Figure 15 shows a cross sectional end view of a die apparatus according to an embodiment of the present invention.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Unless otherwise indicated, all numbers expressing feature sizes, amounts, and physical properties used in the specification and claims are to be understood as being modified in all instances by the term "about." Accordingly, unless indicated to the contrary, the numerical parameters set forth in the foregoing specification and attached claims are approximations that can vary depending upon the properties sought to be obtained by those skilled in the art utilizing the teachings disclosed herein.

The recitation of numerical ranges by endpoints includes all numbers subsumed within that range (e.g. 1 to 5 includes 1, 1.5, 2, 2.75, 3, 3.80, 4, and 5) and any range within that range. As used in this specification and the appended claims, the singular forms "a", "an", and "the" encompass embodiments having plural referents, unless the content clearly dictates otherwise. As used in this specification and the appended claims, the term "or" is generally employed in its sense including "and/or" unless the content clearly dictates otherwise.

"Include," "including," or like terms means encompassing but not limited to, that is, including and not exclusive.

The present disclosure relates to production of an extruded protein product having a substantially meat-like structure. As used herein, an extruded protein product has a substantially meat-like structure if it has a structure that is similar in texture to raw or cooked animal meat. An extruded protein product having a substantially meat-like structure typically has a protein content of from about 15% to about 90% (e.g., from about 20% to about 80%, from about 30% to about 75% , from about 40% to about 85%, from about 40% to about 60%, from about 50% to about 90%, from about 50% to about 60%, and the like) based on dry weight, a moisture content greater than 27%, and elongated protein fibers arranged in a substantially parallel arrangement. The density and length of elongated protein fibers in an extruded protein product can be adjusted to produce structures similar to different kinds of meat, such as chicken, beef, lamb, pork, fish, and the like. It is to be understood, however, that an extruded protein product having a substantially meat-like structure need not have a structure identical to or indistinguishable from meat.

A process for making an extruded protein product having a substantially meat-like structure can include production of a dough stream comprising a protein composition. A protein composition, as used herein, includes at least one protein component and water. A protein component includes one or a mixture of an animal derived protein or a non-animal derived protein. An animal derived protein can be derived from any appropriate animal source (e.g., meat, egg, dairy, and the like) from any appropriate animal (e.g., poultry, bovine animals, pigs, horses, fish, sheep, goats, deer, and the like). Examples of animal derived proteins include, but are not limited to, crude mixtures of proteins (e.g., mechanically deboned meat, surimi, minced meat, meat paste, and the like), or partially or fully purified proteins (e.g., gelatin, casein, whey, albumin, milk protein isolate, and the like). A non-animal derived protein can be derived from any appropriate non-animal source (e.g., plant, algae, bacteria, fungi, yeast, and the like). Examples of non-animal derived proteins include, but are not limited to, crude mixtures of proteins (e.g., grain flour, legume flour, yeast extract, algae extract, and the like), or partially or fully purified proteins (e.g., zein, gluten, soy protein isolate, soy protein extract, and the like). An animal derived or non-animal derived protein for use in a process provided herein can be a derivative (e.g., isomer, hydrolysate) of a natural protein.

The protein content of a protein composition suitable for use in the methods provided herein can range from about 15% of the weight of the dry ingredients to about 90% of the weight of the dry ingredients. For example, based on the dry weight of the protein composition, the protein content of a protein composition can be from about 15% to about 25%, from about 20% to about 30%, from about 25% to about 40%, from about 30% to about 50%, from about 40% to about 60%, from about 40% to about 80%, from about 45%) to about 65%, from about 45% to about 75%, from about 50% to about 60%, from about 50% to about 70%, fr om about 50% to about 90%, from about 55% to about 75%), from about 60% to about 70%, from about 60% to about 80%, from about 70% to about 90%, and the like. The amount of protein in a protein composition can be adjusted in order to adjust the protein content or texture of an extruded protein product produced from the protein composition. In some embodiments, the protein content in a protein composition can be adjusted in order to adjust the viscosity or shear properties of the protein composition.

A protein composition suitable for use in the methods provided herein can have a moisture content of at least 27% by weight of the protein composition. For example, the moisture content can be from about 27% to about 85%, from about 30% to about 40%, from about 30% to about 50%, from about 30% to about 60%, from about 30% to about 70%, from about 40% to about 60%, from about 40% to about 75%, from about 45% to about 55%), from about 45% to about 60%, from about 45% to about 75%, from about 45%) to about 85%, from about 50% to about 55%, from about 50% to about 60%, from about 50%) to about 70%, from about 50% to about 75%, from about 50% to about 80%, from about 55% to about 60%, from about 55% to about 70%, from about 55% to about 80%, from about 60% to about 65%, from about 60% to about 70%, from about 60% to about 80%, from about 70% to about 85%, and the like. The moisture content of a protein composition can be adjusted in order to adjust the moisture content or texture of an extruded protein product produced from the protein composition. In some embodiments, the moisture content in a protein composition can be adjusted in order to adjust the viscosity or shear properties of the protein composition. In some embodiments, the moisture content in a protein composition can be adjusted in order to adjust the solubility of one or more other components in the protein composition.

In some embodiments, a protein composition suitable for use in the methods provided herein, also includes one or more other components including, without limitation, a carbohydrate component, a lipid component, a pH adjusting agent, a flavoring agent, a coloring agent, a macronutrient, a micronutrient, a vitamin, a mineral, and the like. The amount and type of additional components in a protein composition can be adjusted in order to adjust the nutritional value, flavor, aroma, color, appearance and/or texture of an extruded protein product produced from the protein composition. In some embodiments, the amount and type of additional components in a protein composition can be adjusted in order to adjust the viscosity or shear properties of the protein composition. In some embodiments, the amount and type of additional components in a protein composition can be adjusted in order to adjust the solubility of one or more other components in the protein composition.

Protein compositions suitable for use in the methods provided herein can be found at, for example, U.S. Patent No. 5,922,392, U.S. Patent Pub. No. 2007/0269583, U.S. Patent Pub. No. 2009/0291188, U.S. Patent Pub. No. 2012/0093994, EP1778030, EP1059040, and WO 2003/007729, all of which are incorporated by reference herein. Additional protein compositions suitable for use in the methods provided herein can be found in "Continuous restructuring of mechanically deboned chicken meat by HTST extrusion cooking" (Megard et al, Journal of Food Science, 50: 1364-9 (1985)), "High moisture extrusion with a twin-screw extruder: Fate of soy protein during the repetition of extrusion cooking" (Isobe and Noguchi, Nippon Shokuhin Kogoyo Gakkaishi, 34:456-61 (1987)), "Microstructure studies of texturized vegetable protein products: Effects of oil addition and transformation of raw material in various sections of a twin screw extruder" (Gwiazda et al, Food Microstructure, 6:57-61 (1987)), "Texturization of surimi using a twin-screw extruder" (Aoki et al, Nippon Shokuhin Kogyo Gakkaishi, 36(9):748-53 (1989)), "Extrusion cooking of high moisture protein foods" (Noguchi, in Extrusion Cooking, American Association of Cereal Chemists, Ed. Mercier, Linko, and Harper (1989)), "New protein texturization process by extrusion cooking at high moisture levels" (Cheftel et al, Food Reviews International, 8(2):235-75 (1992)), and "Influence of process variables on the characteristics of a high moisture fish soy protein mix texturized by extrusion cooking" (Thiebaud et al, Lebensm.-Wiss. U.-TechnoL, 29:526-35 (1996)), all of which are incorporated by reference herein

A dough stream comprising a protein composition can be produced using any appropriate method and equipment. For example, in some embodiments, a dough stream can be produced using an extruder. An extruder suitable for use in the methods provided herein can include, for example, a single screw or a twin screw extruder. For example a co-rotating, intermeshing, twin screw extruder can be used in a method provided herein. Manufacturers for co-rotating twin screw extruders include, for example, Coperion, Wenger, Clextral, Bersttorf, APV, Buhler, and Leistritz. Manufacturers for single screw extruders include, for example, Wenger, APV, and Buhler.

In some embodiments, a dough stream can be produced via, e.g., a pump from an outlet on a container containing a protein composition.

Temperature and/or viscosity of a dough stream can be adjusted to adjust flow rate or other dough stream properties, such as melting of protein in the dough stream. For example, a dough stream can have a temperature of from about 20° C to about 180° C. In some embodiments, a dough stream can have a temperature from about 100° C to about 150° C. In some embodiments, a dough stream can have a temperature of from about 50° C to about 160° C, from about 70° C to about 145° C, from about 90° C to about 170° C, from about 80° C to about 130°C, or the like.

A dough stream can then directed into a transition apparatus to be split into two or more substreams. Volumes of two or more substreams can be different or substantially equal. A transition apparatus can include any appropriate components suitable for splitting a dough stream comprising a protein composition. For example, in some embodiments, a transition apparat us can include a divider to split the dough stream. In some embodiments, a transition apparatus includes a splitter (e.g., a pipe splitter). In some embodiments, a transition apparatus includes a pump, a valve, or an unpowered mechanical device in order to facilitate splitting the dough stream into two or more substreams and/or to cause the substreams to have substantially controlled volumes. An example of an unpowered mechanical device suitable for use in the methods provided herein is described at, e.g., U.S. Patent No. 6,627,241, which is incorporated herein by reference. In some embodiments, a transition apparatus includes a pump or a valve for each substream.

A transition apparatus can be configured to split a dough stream at one point along the flow of the dough stream. In some embodiments, a transition apparatus can be configured to serially split a dough stream at multiple points along the flow of the dough stream, causing a substream to be further split into two or more substreams.

In some embodiments, a transition apparatus can include a means to pre-align portions of a dough stream or substream in order to facilitate texturization. Means for pre- aligning portions of a dough stream or substream include, but are not limited to, a breaker plate, a series of baffles, a laminar flow static mixer, and the like.

In some embodiments, a transition apparatus can include a vent to allow excess moisture to escape and/or to release undesirable flavors from a protein composition.

In some embodiments, a transition apparatus can include an additive port in order to add an additive to a protein composition before or after the dough stream is split. Any appropriate additive can be added to a protein composition in a method provided herein. For example, an additive can comprise one or more of an animal derived or non-animal derived lipid, a coloring agent, a hydrocolloid, a carbohydrate, an enzyme, a pH adjusting agent, a salt, a macronutrient, or a micronutrient.

Examples of a lipid include, but are not limited to, fat (e.g., bee's wax, carnauba, lard, butter, palm fat, cocoa butter, and the like) and oil (e.g., canola oil, sunflower oil, olive oil, soy bean oil, sesame oil, cotton seed oil, rice bran oil, corn oil, peanut oil, safflower oil, fish oil, algae oil, krill oil, and the like).

Examples of a coloring agent include, but are not limited to, natural colors (e.g., caramel coloring, annatto, betanin, lycopene, beta carotene, cochineal extract, and the like), artificial dyes (e.g., FD&C Blue No. 1, FD&C Blue No. 2, FD&C Green No. 3, FD&C Red No. 3, FD&C Red No. 40, FD&C Yellow No. 5, FD&C Yellow No. 6, and the like), lakes (e.g., carmine, and the like), and other additives that impart color (e.g., dihydroxyacetone, hydrogen peroxide, and the like).

Examples of a hydrocolloid include, but are not limited to, a pectin, a gum (e.g., xanthan gum, gum Arabic, gum ghatti, gum tragacanth, chicle gum, dammar gum, mastic gum, tara gum, spruce gum, psyllium seed husk, gellan gum, guar gum, locust bean gum, konjac gum, and the like), an alginate, a cellulose, an agar, and a carrageenan.

Examples of a carbohydrate include, but are not limited to, a native starch, a modified starch (e.g., pre-gelatinized, hybrid, modified, hydrolyzed, mechanically, chemically, thermally, enzymatically modified, modified by high pressure), a monosaccharide (e.g., glucose, fructose), an oligosaccharide (e.g., sucrose, lactose, maltose, maltodextrin), a soluble fiber (e.g., beta-glucan, inulin, fructan, polydextrose), an insoluble fiber (cellulose, hemicellulose, dextrin), and a modified fiber.

Examples of a softener or polyol include, but are not limited to sugar alcohols (e.g., glycerol, sorbitol), propylene glycol, and water.

Examples of an enzyme include, but are not limited to, a transglutaminase or other protein crosslinking enzyme, a peptide hydrolase, a lipidase, an amylase, a protease, and a catalase.

Examples of a pH adjusting agent include, but are not limited to, an acid (e.g., citric acid, ascorbic acid, lactic acid, or other organic acid, or the like), a base (e.g., calcium hydroxide, sodium hydroxide, and the like), and a buffer.

Examples of a salt include, but are not limited to, organic salts (e.g., citrates, tartrates, sorbates, and the like) and inorganic salts (e.g., sodium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride, potassium chloride, bisulfites, metabisulfites, calcium phosphate, and the like).

Examples of a macronutrient include, but are not limited to carbohydrates, fats, protein, and essential amino acids. Examples of a micronutrient include, but are not limited to calcium, potassium, vitamins, organic acids, and the like.

In some embodiments, a transition apparatus can include other suitable components, such as a component for adjusting the dimensions of the dough stream before splitting (e.g., a coat hanger die). For example, a dough stream can be changed from a substantially circular or figure 8 cross section to a rectangular cross section, or from a figure 8 cross section to a circular cross section. Additional suitable components can include cooling components, heating components, and the like.

Two or more dough substreams can be directed from a transition apparatus to a die apparatus. A die apparatus can include one or more dies that, collectively, include one or more channels for each substream produced in a transition apparatus. The channels in a die apparatus are configured to provide a substantially meat-like structure to an extruded protein product produced from a protein composition according to a method provided herein. The surface texture, surface material, temperature, and length of a channel can be adjusted in order to provide the desired texture to an extruded protein product. In some embodiments, the surface texture, surface material, and/or temperature can be different in different portions of a channel along its length in order to adjust the texture of an extruded protein product made by a method provided herein.

In some embodiments, a channel can include a static mixer along at least a portion of its length for mixing an additive into one or more substream or to facilitate cooling. In some embodiments, a channel can include an additive port for adding an additive, as described above, to one or more substreams. In some embodiments, a channel can be configured to combine two or more substreams. In some embodiments, a channel can include a vent to allow excess moisture to escape and/or to release undesirable flavors from a protein composition.

In some embodiments, a channel can be cooled along at least a portion of its length. A channel can be cooled using any appropriate means. For example, at least a portion of a channel can be passed through a jacket containing a cooling fluid (e.g., a liquid or gas) that can be circulated around the channel. In some embodiments, at least a portion of a channel can be passed through a refrigerated chamber. In some embodiments, at least a portion of a channel is cooled by evaporation of a liquid from an outside surface.

In some embodiments, a die apparatus can be modular. In some embodiments, modules can be added or removed in order to adjust the overall length of the channels. In some embodiments a module can include an additive port or a static mixer, or can be configured to combine two or more substreams. In some embodiments, a module can be cooled. In some embodiments, different modules can have channels with different surface textures and/or materials, different channel lengths, and the like.

A modular die apparatus can include two or more modules that can be arranged as desired to result in a desired treatment of a dough stream. For example, a substream can be passed through a channel in a module having an additive port followed by module having a static mixer in order to mix the additive into the substream. In another example, a substream can be passed through a channel in a module configured to combine the substream with a second substream, and the combined substreams can then be passed through a module that is cooled such that the combined substreams form a single extruded protein product.

Systems for performing the various methods described herein are also provided. A system for performing a method provided herein can include an extruder, a transition apparatus, and a die apparatus having the features as generally described above. Various embodiments of systems for producing an extruded protein product are illustrated in Figures 1-4.

Figure 1 illustrates a system 1 including a co-rotating, intermeshing, twin screw extruder 100, which includes two screw augurs 110, 120 within extruder barrel 130, and an extruder outlet 140. Extruder outlet 140 is configured to deposit a dough stream (not shown) into transition apparatus 200. Transition apparatus 200 includes two or more tapered channels 210, 220 (two shown) that divide a dough stream and direct each subsequent substream (not shown) into each channel 310, 320 of die apparatus 300.

Figure 2 illustrates an embodiment of a system 2 similar to that shown in Figure 1 , in which the transition apparatus 400 of system 2 tapers to a splitter 410 configured to split a dough stream and direct each subsequent substream into channels 310, 320 of die apparatus 300. In some embodiments, as shown in Figure 3, a system 3 can be similarly configured to system 2 of Figure 2, except that the transition apparatus 500 serially separates a dough stream at multiple points 510, 520.

Figure 4 shows an embodiment of a system 4, including a co-rotating, intermeshing, twin screw extruder 100, which includes an extruder outlet 140 that is configured to deposit a dough stream (not shown) into transition apparatus 600. Transition apparatus 600 includes dividers 610, 620, 630 that divide a dough stream and direct each subsequent substream (not shown) into each channel 710, 720, 730, 740 of die apparatus 700.

Figure 5 shows an embodiment of a system 5 similar to that shown in Figure 4, in which the transition apparatus 800 is configured to change the dimensions of a dough stream before dividing it and directing it into die apparatus 700.

Figure 6 shows an example of a modular die apparatus 1000. Modular die apparatus 1000 includes module 1100 with an additive port 1110, 1120 functionally associated with each of channels 1010, 1020. In some embodiments, an additive port 1110, 1120 can be functionally associated with a pump 1130, 1140 and/or an additive reservoir (not shown). Modular die apparatus 1000 also includes module 1200 with a static mixer 1210, 1220 in each of channels 1010, 1020. Modular die apparatus 1000 further includes module 1300. In some embodiments one or more of modules 1100, 1200, and 1300 can be cooled.

In the example shown in Figure 6, each substream would pass through its respective channel 1010, 1020 in order from module 1100 to module 1200 to module 1300, and exit through an outlet 1410, 1420. However, in some embodiments, the order in which modules 1100, 1200, 1300 can be changed. In some embodiments, one or more of modules 1100, 1200, 1300, or other modules, can be added or removed.

Figures 7-15 show examples of die apparatus configurations as viewed from a cross section. Any appropriate cross sectional shape and area size for each channel can be used. In some embodiments, a cross sectional shape and area size can be selected based on an amount of desired contact of the channel surface throughout the volume of a substream. For example, a rectangular cross sectional channel shape can be chosen rather than a round cross sectional shape if a higher contact area is desired, for example, in order to increase shear throughout the volume of a substream. In another example, a larger cross sectional area size can be chosen to provide a less shear nearer the center of a substream.

A cross sectional area of a channel in a die apparatus can range from about 1 cm to about 200 cm 2 (e.g., from about from about 1 cm 2 to about 5 cm 2 , 1 cm 2 to about 10 cm 2 , from about 1 cm 2 to about 50 cm 2 , from about 1.5 cm 2 to about 25 cm 2 , from about

1.5 cm 2 to about 75 cm 2 , from about 2 cm 2 to about 12 cm 2 , from about 2 cm 2 to about 50 cm 2 , from about 2 cm 2 to about 80 cm 2 , from about 2 cm 2 to about 100 cm 2 , from about 5 cm 2 to about 15 cm 2 , from about 5 cm 2 to about 150 cm 2 , from about 10 cm 2 to about 30 cm 2 , from about 15 cm 2 to about 45 cm 2 , from about 20 cm 2 to about 60 cm 2 , from about 50 cm 2 to about 100 cm 2 , from about 75 cm 2 to about 200 cm 2 , from about 100 cm 2 to about 150 cm 2 , from about 100 cm 2 to about 200 cm 2 , and the like).

Figures 7-9 show examples of die apparatuses D where each channel 20 is arranged around an axis A. Figure 15 shows an example of a die apparatus D where the channels 20 are arranged around multiple axes Al, A2, A3, A4, A5 (shown as points). Figure 10 shows an example of a die apparatus D where the channels are vertically arranged. Figure 11 shows an example of a die apparatus D where the channels 20 are horizontally arranged. Figures 12 and 13 show examples of die apparatuses D where the channels 20 are both horizontally and vertically arranged. Figure 14 shows an example of a die apparatus D where the channels 20 are both horizontally arranged and arranged around multiple axes A6, A7, A8, A9 (shown as points).

Examples Table 1 provides examples of suitable combinations of channel shape, cross sectional area, number of channels and extrusion rate.

Table 1

Individual Individual Number Total Extruder Total Spec die channel channel cross of channel rate per extruder flow shape sectional area channels cross channel rate (kg/hr* cm 2 )

(cm 2 ) sectional (kg/hr) (kg/hr)

area (cm 2 )

Rectangular 10 12 120 150 1800 15

Rectangular 100 4 400 50 200 0.5

Rectangular 100 12 1200 50 600 0.5

Rectangular 100 4 400 100 400 1

Rectangular 100 12 1200 100 1200 1

Rectangular 100 4 400 300 1200 3

Rectangular 100 12 1200 300 3600 3

The implementations described above and other implementations are within the scope of the following claims. One skilled in the art will appreciate that the present disclosure can be practiced with embodiments other than those disclosed. The disclosed embodiments are presented for purposes of illustration and not limitation.