b'Bridging gaptheBREEDING FOR PLANT PROTEINS. BY: MARCEL BRUINST o satisfy Europes craving forFOR FURTHER IMPROVEMENTS meat, dairy and eggs, the conti- OF THESE CROPS E.G. HIGHER nent is more and more dependentPERCENTAGES OF CERTAIN on imported plant protein. Since theCOMPONENTS?1960s, meat consumption in the EU hasGS:Non-GMO soybeana mature prod-increased by 60%, in particular, pig anduct in the market but limited in its vari-poultry meat. The animals are largelyeties and yield performance. We wish to raised in factory farms and almost whollyimprove the whole bean food applications, reliant on feed composed of cereal andsuch as the natto and tofu markets, dairy plant proteins such as soy. Such a modelalternatives and improve the protein to comes with several challenges, fromoil ratio. But our main goal is to create water, soil and air pollution to biodiver- a commercial soy variety which contains sity loss, just to name a few. Apart from50% protein as a major protein source that, a high consumption of animal prod- without any processing requirements.ucts also clashes with global health guide- Peawe already grow rows of pea lines. Trying to bridge the gap betweenwith 50% more protein (overall 30% pro-breeding for plant protein and food is nottein instead of 20%) and we wish to be an easy one. Lots is said about improvingcommercial in 2021, giving the seeds to the protein content of legume crops suchour partner Roquette. as peas to answer the increasing globalChickpeawe have seen the pro-demand for plant proteins, but not alwaysGil Shalev tein content as important trait of focus with the desired progress. One company especially as chickpea isolate seems to that is working solely on this is Israelbe expensive. We are working on various based Equinom. European Seed spokeable food supply chain. Thus, the majorseeds of different protein compositions. with Gil Shalev, CEO of Equinom, to gethigh-quality plant proteins are accruedThis translates into different functional-his take on breeding for plant proteins. in the legumes family and our focus isities. Chickpea protein seems to be the breeding soybean, cowpea, pea, mung- next big thing in the world, especially for EUROPEAN SEED (ES): GIL, CANbean, chickpea and fava bean as well asmilling usage. YOU TELL A BIT MORE ABOUTsesame that we see today going to the oilSesameAs sesame becomes more YOUR COMPANY? industry, but also as a protein source. Wecommercial, we wish to provide the market GIL SHALEV (GS):Equinom is a seedare increasingly aware that the market iswith different valuesnot only improve breeding company that focuses on thelooking for more plant protein varieties,the amino score of sesame protein and requirements of the food industry. Wenot only soybean and pea. The legumeprotein composition but also improve the are working on breeding various cropsfamily holds different types of crops (ofoil-yield, so sesame could become a great that we found relevant for bringingvarying protein compositions) and eachalternative for soybean as oil-source. better protein to the world. For years,provides a solution for a different industry.Other grainswe are working with the industry (especially the breedingAlso, we are working globally to providethe largest seed bank in the world for all industry) put its focus on crops for feedsolutions for different markets who growthe legume varieties and developing dif-and biodiesel needs, and the human foodlegume varieties in their unique locations.ferent types with different functionalities. was neglected. Most of the breedingMarket volume and growth potential work for food focuses on wheat, which iswas another parameter in our selection ofES:YOU USE NON-GMO a carbohydrate crop with limited valuesix of the cropssoybean, pea and chick- VARIETIES? WHY IS THAT?from a nutritional perspective. Equinompea have a nice volume and there areGS:Firstly, we are working in the food came with the vision to breed for the foodmany companies involved in growing andindustry and non-GMO is prepared and industry, using its technology, to improveprocessing these crops. Cowpea, mung- available in many markets. Secondly, we the quality of the food we eat, and to leadbean and fava bean naturally contain anare breeding for multi-traits regulated by the plant protein revolution from the seedoptimum protein composition and highmulti-genes. All the GMO/gene-editing/inside-out.amino acid score. However, their marketCRISPR technology is less relevant for is not large enough and is also rather frag- these traits. Nature has all the varieties ES: YOU ARE FOCUSING ONmented in different locations, but it hasand genes we need; we just need to use a SEVERAL PROTEIN CROPS, WHYthe potential to grow in the future. simple crossbreeding technique with our IS THAT? strong proprietary algorithms. If you look GS:We decided to focus on commodityES: REGARDING THESE CROPS,at our product profiler application you plant proteins and to create a sustain- DO YOU HAVE ANY WISHESwill see the ratio of the different traits, 36IEUROPEAN SEEDIEUROPEAN-SEED.COM'