In vitro gastric digestion of heat-induced aggregates of β-lactoglobulin (β-LG) in simulated gastric fluid was investigated using sodium dodecyl sulfate-PAGE (under nonreducing and reducing conditions), native PAGE, 2-dimensional electrophoresis, and size exclusion chromatography. Heating at 90°C significantly increased the digestibility of β-LG, with a high initial digestion rate followed by a relatively constant rate of digestion at a high enzyme:substrate (E:S) ratio of 3:1. At a low E:S ratio (1:6), the rate of digestion of β-LG was slower, and intermediate- and low-molecular-weight species could be seen. The high-molecular-weight nonnative aggregates (e.g., pentamers, tetramers, and trimers) were digested relatively rapidly, whereas some of the nonnative dimers were resistant to digestion and others were digested rapidly. The intermediate-molecular-weight species (21 to 23 kDa) were digested slowly. The digestibility of nonnative β-LG aggregates varied significantly depending on the E:S ratio and the types of aggregate. Further investigation is necessary to identify and characterize slowly digested dimers and species of intermediate molecular weight.
Bovine β-lactoglobulin (β-Lg) self-assembles into long amyloid-like fibrils when heated at 80 °C, pH 2, and low ionic strength (<0.015 mM). Heating β-Lg under fibril-forming conditions shows a lag phase before fibrils start forming. We have investigated the structural characteristics of β-Lg during the lag phase and the composition of β-Lg fibrils after their separation using ultracentrifugation. During the lag phase, the circular dichroism spectra of heated β-Lg showed rapid unfolding, and sodium dodecyl sulfate polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE) of samples showed increasing hydrolysis of β-Lg. The SDS-PAGE profiles of fibrils separated by ultra centrifugation showed that after six hours, the fibrils consisted of a few preferentially accumulated peptides. Two-dimensional SDS-PAGE under reducing and nonreducing conditions showed the presence of disulfide-bonded fragments in the fibrils. The sequences in these peptide bands were characterized by in-gel digestion electrospray ionization (ESI)-MS/MS. The composition of solubilized fibrils was also characterized by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) MS/MS. Both MS analyses showed that peptides in fibrils were primarily from the N-terminal region, although there was some evidence of peptides from the C-terminal part of the molecule present in the higher molecular weight gel bands. We suggest that although the N-terminal region of β-Lg is almost certainly involved in the formation of the fibrils, other peptide fragments linked through disulfide bonds may also be present in the fibrils during self-assembly.
Self-assembly of amyloid-like nanofibrils during heating of bovine whey proteins at 80 °C and pH 2 is accelerated by the presence of NaCl and/or CaCl(2), but the rheological consequences of accelerated self-assembly are largely unknown. This investigation focused on the impact of CaCl(2) on the evolution of rheological properties and fibril morphology of heated whey protein isolate (WPI), both during self-assembly at high temperature and after cooling. Continuous rotational rheometry of heated 2% w/w WPI showed a nonlinear effect of CaCl(2) on the viscosity of fibril dispersions, which we attributed to effects on fibril flexibility and thus the balance between intrafibril and interfibril entanglements. Small-amplitude oscillatory measurements made in situ during heating of 10% w/w WPI at 80 °C suggest that CaCl(2) is not involved in either fibril structure or gel structure, and this was confirmed with dialysis experiments.
Protein is an essential macronutrient and a key structural component of many foods. The nutritional and technological properties of food protein ingredients depend on their source, extraction and purification, modification during food manufacture, and interactions with other food components. In addition to covering these elements, this review seeks to highlight underappreciated aspects of protein environmental sustainability and explores the potential of cultured meat and insect-derived proteins.
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