Leading Australian agribusiness and processing company GrainCorp has partnered with national science agency CSIRO and plant-based food producer v2food for a plant-based protein research project, GrainCorp announced.

GrainCorp said it had received funding from the Australian government’s Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) Program for the US$3.3M (A$4.4M) project to separate and manufacture proteins at commercial volumes from canola, soyabeans, fava beans and chickpeas.

The partnership’s aim is to reduce Australia’s reliance on imported ingredients in plant-based protein processing and manufacturing and to add more value to grains and oilseeds so they can be used in new products, according to the 29 March statement.

“Our partnership aims to create a commercial plant protein supply chain that benefits Aussie growers and food and aquafeed manufacturers, as well as consumers,” GrainCorp managing director and CEO Robert Spurway said.

“We’ll be able to access new export markets and meet growing domestic demand while creating jobs and informing future research and development into high-quality plant varieties.”

GrainCorp said a key focus of the collaboration would be adding value to existing plant protein capabilities at the company’s oilseed processing site in Numurkah, Victoria.

CSIRO would bring its expertise in science, food technology, agronomy and genetics to the collaboration, GrainCorp said.

“We are assessing options across the plant protein spectrum, including in soya protein, to potentially replace imported soya protein concentrate with locally produced production and processing,” v2food CEO Nick Hazell said.

The research project was due for completion in 2023 following a staged approach to process development, pilot-scale protein fractionation, sensory evaluation and product application, GrainCorp said.

Australia is the world’s second largest canola seed exporter, according to the Australian Oilseeds Federation.