Svend and Bjørn develop climate-friendly faba beans as a Danish alternative to soy

Researchers from Business Academy Aarhus are investigating a drought-tolerant and protein-rich faba bean.

For the past three years, Business Academy Aarhus has been researching the potential of legumes as a tasty source of protein.

This work has now resulted in the Academy becoming a partner in a new, large project which must find a climate-friendly alternative to soy as protein feed for fish, poultry, cattle, and pigs.

The project is the largest in the Academy’s history within chemical and biotechnical technology and food technology.

15 million DKK grant

With a grant of 15 million DKK from the Green Development and Demonstration Programme (GUDP) – under the Danish Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Fisheries – Danish researchers and plant breeders will together develop new faba bean varieties which can match soybeans.

This is the ambition of the new project, called IMFABA. The project is a partnership between the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, the Centre for Quantitative Genetics and Genomics at Aarhus University, the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences at the University of Copenhagen, Nordic Seed, Sejet Plant Breeding and the Research and Innovation Department at Business Academy Aarhus.

Read the article:  new grant for improving faba bean yield

Believe it will succeed

Lecturers at Business Academy Aarhus Bjørn Petrat-Melin and Svend Secher Dam, and their fellow researchers in the project hope to be able to breed a more drought-tolerant, easily digestible, and protein-rich faba bean.

‘If we are to convince farmers that it is a good idea to grow faba beans, we need to quickly start developing varieties with an even better yield stability and protein content - we have a great belief that we can do this,’ says Svend Secher Dam.

Legumes as a tasty alternative to meat

The breeding work at IMFABA is primarily concerned with faba beans for animal feed. But the beans also have the potential to be an ingredient in plant-based mince, according to researchers from Business Academy Aarhus. Therefore, long before legumes became popular with the Danish Ministry of Food, they used their own research funds to investigate the quality and properties of legumes as raw material and ingredient in food products.

‘This project focuses on animal feed, but for several years we have actually been working to increase knowledge about legumes as tasty meat substitutes. Legumes have really become the dish of the day in a time where plant-based meat alternatives are becoming more and more popular with consumers. Therefore, we are very pleased to contribute with our knowledge on this highly topical subject,’ says Bjorn Petrat-Melin.

Read about the project on our website

or international press coverage here