Our work

New proteins

To keep feeding the world’s growing population, we are going to need more proteins. For people of all ages, this macronutrient is essential for growth and physical regeneration. TNO is pioneering the development of new types. “We want to contribute towards the production of enough nutritious, high-quality proteins to feed the world.”

In the field of new proteins, TNO draws upon expertise from a wide range of disciplines and research programmes. That has created an enviable knowledge base. “And what further strengthens that,” says Business Development Manager Maurits Burgering, “is that we are carrying out projects at various different technology readiness levels (TRL).” So we are both at the forefront of new knowledge development as well as close to new market development.

Various disciplines

TNO possesses in-depth knowledge of:

  • Protein extraction separation and recovery processes. We possess the latest insights for recovering valuable ingredients like proteins from all kinds of sources.
  • Food production applications. We know how to incorporate different types of protein into products like bread, meat, soups and sauces, always taking into account taste, texture, structure and functionality.
  • Positive health effect. We understand protein digestion and uptake and its implications for health We understand the positive effects of specific proteins and peptides in such domains as satiation, blood pressure, or other bioactivity, and we apply this know-how.
  • Allergenicity. We have knowledge of protein allergies and help customers with these issues in novel proteins.
  • Regulatory affairs. New proteins have to be approved as “novel foods” by the EU. TNO assists producers in complying with all the relevant rules and regulations.

TNO has several lines of research working on protein recovery

  • Flying food. This programme is dedicated to meeting the protein needs of the world’s poorest people, the so-called “bottom of the pyramid” (BoP). For example, we are helping farming families in Kenya and Uganda to raise protein-rich crickets using simple breeding systems. They learn the best way to produce the insects process the and to incorporate them into local foodstuffs.
  • Residual protein valorization. With our knowledge of separation, drying and biorefinery techniques, we are helping agribusinesses and food manufacturers to valorise their side streams. Discarded sugar-beet leafs, for instance, are a rich source of biomass with the potential to meet a substantial proportion of the world’s protein needs.
  • Algaculture. Using mobile biorefineries, we are able to recover functional ingredients from algae. The refineries are housed in shippingcontainers at various locations around the world.

Protein purification For the proper study of protein allergenicity, it is essential to know exactly which protein or peptide is causing a reaction. Using a variety of purification techniques, TNO is able to isolate these substances with a high degree of precision. The resulting pure proteins/peptides can then be used in diagnostics. Protein purification is also used in the design of interventions and to test products for cross-reactivity.


To strengthen our knowledge of new proteins, TNO is actively involved in a number of partnerships. These include the Protein Competence Centre, a strategic alliance with Groningen University Medical Centre, NIZO food research and the universities of Groningen and Wageningen which brings the full range of Dutch know-how in this field under one roof. In our partnership with TNO Triskelion, we contribute expertise in the form of specialist measuring equipment such as the TIM system for studying protein digestion and advanced analytical devices to detect protein fragments.

Our work

Insects as nutritious, affordable and tasty food

Crickets are highly nutritious and tasty. And easy to rear. In cooperation with our partners we are launching cricket rearing in Kenya and Uganda, including processing and market-based value chain development. ... Read more
Our work

Algae for a sustainable future

Algae have a very high areal productivity, contain a wealth of ingredients and can be cultivated on infertile soil. Due to these reasons, they are considered the agricultural crop of the future. However,... Read more

Dr. Maurits Burgering


Dr. Maurits Burgering


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