Research Foundation News

January 28, 2021

Technology bolsters use of chia seeds to help improve health, slow signs of aging

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – An improved extraction method involving chia seeds may provide new options for nutritional foods, medicine capsules and anti-aging products.

 

A Purdue University team has developed and patented the method to separate mucilage from chia seeds, yielding a protein-rich chia seed flour with improved bioactivity and functionality compared with conventional methods.

 

Mucilage is a thick and gluey substance that surrounds chia seeds and can make processing the seeds for food or pharmaceutical uses much more difficult or nearly impossible.

 

“We are excited about our extraction method because it opens up so many new possibilities for using chia seeds,” said Uriel Urbizo, a Ph.D. graduate student in Purdue’s College of Agriculture involved in the innovation team led by Andrea Liceaga, an associate professor of food science. “Our process uses temperature, ultrasonication, and vacuum-assisted filtration to offer improved efficiency to save both time and money for companies processing chia seeds for nutritional, pharmaceutical, anti-aging or other applications.”

chia-seeds Clean chia seeds after mucilage extraction using ultrasound and vacuum-filtration separation (A); chia seeds with residual mucilage using ultrasound and centrifugation (B). (Image provided)

Chia seeds have been used for centuries as protein sources, but Urbizo said conventional separation methods such as freeze-drying processes can be expensive, time-consuming, and can damage useful components of the seeds and decrease the total yield.

The Purdue researchers also tested the method that they developed for potential applications such as using the mucilage and peptides to develop films that can be used in medicine capsules and anti-aging products, respectively. 

“Our method offers an improved option for creating products that use components, primarily peptides, from the chia seeds to inhibit enzymes that play a role in the aging of skin,” Liceaga said.

This work was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Hatch Act formula funds project 1019794.

The innovators worked with the Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization to patent the technology. This work will be featured at OTC’s 2021 Technology Showcase: The State of Innovation. The annual showcase, being held virtually this year Feb. 10-11, will feature novel innovations from inventors at Purdue and across the state of Indiana. More information is available by emailing showcase@prf.org.

The innovators are looking for partners to continue developing and commercializing their technology. For more information on licensing and other opportunities, contact Abhijit Karve of OTC at aakarve@prf.org and mention track code 2020-LICE-68853.

About Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization

The Purdue Research Foundation Office of Technology Commercialization operates one of the most comprehensive technology transfer programs among leading research universities in the U.S. Services provided by this office support the economic development initiatives of Purdue University and benefit the university's academic activities through commercializing, licensing and protecting Purdue intellectual property. The office recently moved into the Convergence Center for Innovation and Collaboration in Discovery Park District, adjacent to the Purdue campus. In fiscal year 2020, the office reported 148 deals finalized with 225 technologies signed, 408 disclosures received and 180 issued U.S. patents. The office is managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, which received the 2019 Innovation and Economic Prosperity Universities Award for Place from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. In 2020, IPWatchdog Institute ranked Purdue third nationally in startup creation and in the top 20 for patents. The Purdue Research Foundation is a private, nonprofit foundation created to advance the mission of Purdue University. Contact otcip@prf.org for more information.      

About Purdue University 

Purdue University is a top public research institution developing practical solutions to today’s toughest challenges. Ranked the No. 5 Most Innovative University in the United States by U.S. News & World Report, Purdue delivers world-changing research and out-of-this-world discovery. Committed to hands-on and online, real-world learning, Purdue offers a transformative education to all. Committed to affordability and accessibility, Purdue has frozen tuition and most fees at 2012-13 levels, enabling more students than ever to graduate debt-free. See how Purdue never stops in the persistent pursuit of the next giant leap at purdue.edu.

Writer: Chris Adam, cladam@prf.org 

Sources:
Uriel Urbizo, uurbizor@purdue.edu

Andrea Liceaga, aliceaga@purdue.edu


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