Researchers at PSU’s Surat Thani Campus helped develop a prototype coconut protein powder with nutritional value, as part of the Herb City Project.
Dr. Viboon Pongkanpai, Faculty of Science and Industrial Technology, PSU Surat Thani Campus, explained that the prototype is a product of the coconut oil production process, where the centrifuged coconut extract is put through a spray drying process. The resulting yellowish light brown coconut protein powder is then packed in aluminum foil.
This insoluble protein has not been used for commercial purposes until the Herb City Project, developed by the Surat Thani Provincial Health Office, started focusing on coconut oil, alongside mushrooms, cockles and turmeric.
As a result, "Uncle Song’s Garden", a center for learning to make cold pressed coconut oil and its derivatives, has been selected to carry out this objective of the Herb City Project. The center worked with many experts, including those at PSU’s Surat Thani Campus, to obtain a product that can compete with whey protein. The resulting coconut-based protein powder is said to have economic potential, and plans are being considered for making it appealing to a wide consumer base by adding chocolate, vanilla and strawberry flavors, and producing it in the form of pellets or with vitamin B.
Coconut protein powder products are suitable for the elderly who tend to have a higher rate of muscle loss and need to get protein to strengthen their muscles. Other groups who might benefit from such products are healthcare professionals and children. Lastly, protein powder is still utilized in the food industry, as dietary supplement and animal feed.