PEPTIBoost: a FoodWal project portfolio granted through Walloon Region Win4Excellence

The PEPTIBoost project will aim to promote protein co-products from the food industry in the production chain of functional foods, more specifically bioactive peptides formulated as protein hydrolysates that are applicable for human and animal health.

Bioactive peptides are known for their high tissue affinity, their specificity, and their efficiency in health promotion (hypotensive, immunomodulator, diabetes, etc.). For this reason, the search for bioactive peptides that originate from food items has recently increased exponentially. Over the years, many potential bioactive peptides have been documented in food items. However, obstacles such as the need to establish conditions for industrial-scale production and the lack of well-designed clinical trials to provide robust evidence to support health claims persist. This project aims to reveal and map the content of bioactive peptides in selected natural food matrices, as well as associated co-products in the food-processing chain (lactoserum, colostrum, bacterial, vegetable, etc.), in order to then reinforce the content through enzymatic and fractionation/enrichment processes that can be transposed to an industrial scale.

Particular attention will also be paid to the in-vitro and in-vivo validation of the biological properties of these bioactive peptides on health and on the behavior of intestinal microbiota. Finally, the scope of this project will also focus on the development of an artificial intelligence aimed at predicting the physico-chemical characteristics of protein hydrolysates and their responses on targets, based on structural data concerning the source protein and the generated peptides.

The objective of these predictive models is to accelerate the process of developing new peptide hydrolysates, while reducing costs and minimizing the risks inherent to any R&D project.

The project portfolio will be structured into six parts, as outlined below :

  • the production of hydrolysates containing original peptide profiles – Creation of libraries of alternative enzymes and probiotics  Partners: ULiège (CIP, A. Matagne) – CER Groupe (P. Filée)
  • hydrolysates containing original peptide profiles – Development of a new cell host and bioprocess streaming  Partners: ULiège (MiPi, F. Delvigne) – UNamur (URBM, F. Renzi)
  • the molecular characterization of peptidic hydrolysate through mass spectrometry, hyphenated techniques, and molecular spectroscopy  Partners: ULiège (MSLab, G. Eppe) ULiège (CIP, A. Matagne) ULB (V. Raussens) – CER Groupe (N. Gillard)
  • the biological characterization of bioactive peptides (cell-based assays)  Partners: UNamur (URBC T. Arnould) – CER Groupe (P. Filée, N. Gillard)
  • the in-vivo characterization of bioactive peptides  Partners: UCLouvain (MNUT, A. Neyrinck) – CER Groupe (P. Filée, N. Gillard)
  • the in-silico prediction of bioactive peptides  Partners: Multitel (J-Y Parfait) – UNamur (UCPTS, C. Michaux)
Are you interested in applying to become one of the six PhD candidates working on the PEPTIBoost project? Contact our colleague Nathalie Gillard.

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