ProScreen: Automated Protein Profiling and Functional Characterisation Platform

Join us in establishing Singapore’s first automated protein screening and functional characterisation platform.

With industry concerns on allergenicity, inferior digestibility, poor functional properties of novel proteins and a limited pool of existing protein sources, ProScreen will enable the discovery of novel proteins of desirable properties for food product formulation by screening for the best candidates. The platform is also able to screen and unlock greater usage potential of existing proteins.

ProScreen is a joint research programme between the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), National University of Singapore (NUS), Massey University and the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT).


Supporting Singapore's "30 by 30" goal

The Singapore Food Story (SFS) aims to strengthen Singapore’s food security, which is vulnerable to emerging trends like increased global demand for food and climate change due to the lack of primary production in the nation. The “30 by 30” goal is to achieve production of 30% of the nation’s nutritional needs locally by 2030.

To meet this goal, the SFS R&D Programme, led by A*STAR and the Singapore Food Agency (SFA), was initiated to support the national agenda of strengthening Singapore’s food security. The Programme also bolsters the nation’s economy through the development of innovative and sustainable technologies for agriculture and aquaculture, as well as new biotech-based foods and ingredients, underpinned by a robust future-ready food safety system.

ProScreen is funded by the SFS R&D Programme to deliver the following outcomes:

ProScreen 1
1. Set up an automated protein profiling and characterisation process

Developing Singapore’s first automated protein profiling and functional characterisation platform with improved throughput of testing

ProScreen 2
2. Develop a green and scalable protein extraction and fractionation process

Designing a conceptual pilot plant with life-cycle analysis to examine the sustainability impact of large-scale extraction and fractionation, with efficient usage of water and energy and minimise waste.

ProScreen 3
3. Create an alternative protein database

Developing an alternative protein database for commercial and novel proteins’ composition and functional properties to predict their applications in food production.

ProScreen 4
4. Maintain a circular economy by valorising agricultural waste

Valorising sides-streams and spent grains to reduce biomass waste, achieve sustainability and create circular economy.


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    Work Package 1: Protein screening, biochemical and nutritional characterisation

    Lead Investigator
    A/Prof Bi Xuezhi
    Principal Scientist, A*STAR Bioprocessing Technology Institute (BTI)

    Aim: To discover new plant proteins sources, characterise  protein isolates and fractional compositions (protein ID & quant), in vitro digestibility, amino acid profiles, and track anti-nutrient factors, allergens, and indigestible peptides of proteins extracted from novel sources. These profiles will be benchmarked against commercial proteins.

Scale-Up & Characterisation
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    Work Package 2: Protein extraction, isolation and fractionation

    Lead Investigator
    A/Prof Susanna Leong
    Associate Professor, Food, Chemical and Biotechnology Cluster, Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT)

    Aim: To screen different protein extraction methods to increase protein yield, and develop green scalable processes to extract and fractionate proteins from novel sources like agricultural side-streams and spent grains. Life-cycle analysis of pilot scale to large-scale processes will be employed.

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    Work Package 3: Automated characterisation of protein key functional properties

    Lead Investigator
    A/Prof Du Juan
    Associate Professor, Food, Chemical and Biotechnology Cluster, Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT)

    Aim: To establish automation processes to determine key functional properties of protein ingredients such as rehydration property, water & oil holding capacity, thermal stability, foaming, gelation and emulsification properties. A database will then be built to classify protein ingredients based on their functional properties and link them with targeted food system applications.

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    Work Package 4: Product development by using discovered proteins for Proof-of-Concept

    Lead Investigator
    A/Prof Du Juan
    Associate Professor, Food, Chemical and Biotechnology Cluster, Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT)

    Aim: To develop Asian-oriented food and beverage prototypes using the database developed in Work Package 3, coupled with other food ingredients, and evaluation of consumer acceptance and attitudes to the developed products.

Get in Touch

Contact us to learn more about ProScreen and to explore potential collaboration opportunities.

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