Research Team

Distinguished Professor Harjinder Singh

Harjinder Singh is a world renowned food scientist. In addition to leading the Food Science and Technology programme at Massey University he is also a co-director of the Riddet Institute and leads the Science of Food programme for High-Value Nutrition. His research has focused on food colloids, food ingredient functionality, functional foods and the food structure-nutrition interface. He has published more than 300 research papers and is the co-inventor of 12 patents which which have been the basis of several commercial innovations. His international standing has been recognised by national and international awards, including the Prime Minister’s Science Prize. He serves on several national and international commitees advising on food strategy, development and implementation.


Public Summary

Principal Investigator: Distinguished Professor Harjinder Singh, Riddet Institute

Collaborating Organisation: AgResearch

The aim of the MultiProMo project is to create high-protein foods that deliver protein in a way that supports muscle maintenance in seniors: this means the right amino acids delivered to muscles at the right time. MultiProMo is a research partnership between the Riddet Institute at Massey University and Goodman Fielder. The first stage of MultiProMo was the development of high-protein beverages using protein from plant and animal sources. We identified protein combinations that gave an optimal amino acid profile and balance for support of muscle maintenance. We then developed processing regimes in order to generate new protein structures and complexes in these high-protein beverages that provided altered rates of protein digestion in humans. Initial work focused on understanding digestion patterns of these beverages in an artificial stomach model that mimicked the human digestion process, monitoring the rate of protein and amino acid release. We then chose beverages that had very different rates of protein breakdown during artificial digestion for evaluation in human clinical trials.

In 2017-18, a pilot human clinical trial was conducted to explore how the rate and extent of amino acid uptake from MultiProMo high-protein beverages are affected by the formulation and processing of the beverages. The results showed that we can reliably modulate the rate of amino acid uptake by modifying formulation and processing.

Based on these results, we produced a second generation of high-protein beverages and evaluated their predicted rate of protein breakdown in an artificial digestion model.  Another human clinical trial was conducted to measure the rate of amino acid uptake during digestion in the second-generation beverages. We also MultiProMo explored the effects of the different beverages on the wider metabolic response in trial participants, by identifying compounds in urine using NMR analysis. Once analysis of the trial data is complete, the results of this trial will help improve the current design of high-protein beverages for muscle support in seniors.

Metabolic Health highlights