A key enzyme in green leaves: the most abundant protein present on earth
But, what is RuBisCo? Ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase oxygenase, most commonly known by the shorter name RuBisCO, is an enzyme that catalyses the first major step of carbon fixation, a process by which atmospheric carbon dioxide and water are converted to energy-rich molecules such as glucose, using sunlight. In green parts of plants, the protein RuBisCO can make up to 50 per cent of the total amount of the protein fraction. Thereby, RuBisCO is the key photosynthetic enzyme in green leaves of plants and is considered the most abundant protein present on earth.
RuBisCO is of potential interest for human consumption due to its high nutritional value. It contains high amounts of essential amino acids, which makes it rather unique among vegetable proteins. Due to its properties, RuBisCo is a very good candidate for food applications. It can not only be used as a protein source but also as an emulsifier, foaming and gelling agent. Therefore, it can be used as a substitute for wheat or eggs. This makes RuBisCo perfect for very different kinds people such as pregnant women, sportsmen, celiac and dairy/egg intolerants and it is also suitable for vegans, Kosher and Halal.
The project that develops RuBisCo: GreenProtein Project
GreenProtein is an initiative devised by a consortium made up of 7 partners from four different countries (Spain, The Netherlands, France and Serbia) coordinated by Cosun, a Dutch agro-industrial cooperative.
The goal of the GreenProtein project is to develop and demonstrate a new integrated process capable of valorising more than 40% of residual waste into high added value additives, more specifically, the above mentioned RuBisCo protein.