Wheys and Means

April 23/Technology Business Journal -- "Whey proteins are known for their large range of functionalities and are therefore widely used in the food industry. Their functionalities greatly depend on the processing history and conditions, and these conditions can be used to specifically tailor the functionalities of whey proteins for every field of application," researchers in Netherlands report.

"Hydrolysis of whey proteins is a processing step that can be used to tailor whey protein functionality further, either to introduce new desired properties such as bioactivities or to decrease/eliminate undesired properties such as antigenicity. In this paper, two novel enzymatic approaches are described.

"The first enzymatic approach was aimed at increasing bioactivity of a whey protein by selective release of a bioactive peptide from BSA: albutensin, a peptide with potential with regard to regulation of food intake. It was shown that in a single enzymatic step the peptide albutensin could be specifically released from BSA under specific conditions, without releasing significant amounts of other undesired peptides. This is the first example of this new approach to obtain bioactive peptides in an economically attractive fashion using only one enzymatic step without the need of further purification steps.

"The second approach is an example of the use process conditions. In this case, high pressure was used to increase the effectiveness of the enzymatic hydrolysis to reduce antigenicity further. It was shown that enzymatic hydrolysis under specific high-pressure conditions resulted in a further decrease of the residual antigenicity of the whey protein hydrolysate," wrote R. Floris and colleagues.

The researchers concluded, "This approach can provide a new and powerful approach to obtain whey protein hydrolysates for infant food."

Floris and colleagues published their study in the Australian Journal of Dairy Technology ("Novel enzymatic approaches for tailoring functionalities of whey protein hydrolysates." Australian Journal of Dairy Technology, 2009;64(1 Sp. Iss.):122-127).

For additional information, contact R. Floris, NIZO Food Research, Kernhemseweg 2, POB 20, NL-6710 BA Ede, Netherlands.

From the April 27, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition