Scale-Up of Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) Protein Recovery Using Screw Presses

Mikkel Hansen, Christina Albers Andersen, Peter Ruhdal Jensen, Timothy John Hobley*

*Corresponding author for this work

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As a consequence of the increased demand for proteins for both feed and food, alternative protein sources from green plants such as alfalfa (Medicago sativa) have come into focus, together with methods to recover these proteins. In this study, we have investigated the use of screw presses for protein recovery from alfalfa at laboratory and pilot scale. We found that using a pilot scale screw press, with a working pressure of 6 bar, 16% of the total protein was recovered in one pressing, and that after rehydrating and repressing the alfalfa up to ten times, 48% of the total protein could be recovered. The green alfalfa protein concentrate was analyzed for total protein, amino acid profile, protein digestibility, color, ash, fiber and fat content. It was found that repetitive pressings lowered the digestibility of the protein pool and reduced the total protein concentration due to dilution. To achieve the best quality protein at the highest concentrations, it is recommended to press the alfalfa no more than twice, which results in an alfalfa protein concentrate with more than 32% soluble protein and greater than 82% digestibility.
Original languageEnglish
Article number3229
Issue number20
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Green proteins
  • Sustainability
  • Alternative proteins
  • Green food


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