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Peanut Protein

In this 1945 edition of Homemakers’ Chat the Agricultural Research Administration of the United States Department of Agriculture, takes on the peanut. This is a historic, archived document; Do not assume content reflects current scientific knowledge, policies, or practices.

SUBJECT: “Peanut Protein”… Information from the Agricultural Research Administration of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Usually, when we hear about protein, we think of body building materials – foods like meat, fish, eggs, milk, dried beans and peas, peanuts. Protein seems a far cry from such things as cold glue… used in hook binding and on gummed tape; from paper coatings… special finishes on stationery and other papers; from cold water paints. It’s not, though. And that’s our story for today.

You see, in making peanut oil, manufacturers have had peanut meal left as a by-product. This meal is rich in protein. Up to now, it has been used mainly as a livestock feed. Scientists have known for a long time how to extract the protein from peanut meal… and they’ve’ known it could be put to a number of industrial uses like those I’ve named.

But there’s been a drawback. The skin of peanuts leaves a dark red color in the meal… and in the protein. White skinned peanuts, of course, process into colorless protein… but farmers don’t grow many white skinned peanuts. And the red color makes the peanut protein useless as far as industrial needs are concerned.

The scientists of the United States Department of Agriculture, working in the Southern Research Laboratory in New Orleans, tackled the problem… and they found a way to take out the pigment in peanut skins.

It’s simple. It costs very little. The new decolorizing process costs only about two dollars for a ton of peanuts… and a ton of peanuts yields from three hundred to three hundred and fifty pounds of protein.

So… with this new, low-cost process… we may look for wider use of peanut protein in the future. It could mean peanuts will be worth more to farmers… and that consumers will get new and better products from industry.

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