Modifying SPI in Egg Usage

November 4/Food Business Week -- According to a study from the U.S., "Yolk contamination of egg white is a common problem in the egg breaking industry. Foaming properties of egg white protein are affected by such contamination, but proteins of basic nature may restore the foaming properties of the yolk-contaminated egg white protein."

"The purpose of this study was to chemically modify a soy protein to esterify the acidic groups on the protein and to study the potential of such modified protein in improving foaming. We showed that the modification changed the isoelectric point of soy protein isolate (SPI) from 4.5 to about 10. Sonication was proven to be a very effective means to redisperse the methanol-denatured soy protein during reaction, as shown by the improved solubility profile. Such modified basic protein, that is, the sonicated-modified SPI (SMSPI), when added to the yolk-contaminated (at 0.4% level, as-is basis) egg white, gave significantly improved foaming properties. We have shown that the slight change in pH due to the addition of SMSPI was not the reason for improved foaming performance; instead, the modified protein itself was the main reason for such improvement. Addition of SMSPI increased the foaming performance of both pure egg white and yolk-contaminated egg white. SMSPI consistently performed better than the unmodified SPI for improving foaming. Addition of SMSPI (16%, based on dry egg white, and 1.6% based on liquid egg white) fully restored foam expansion and foam liquid stability of 0.4% yolk-contaminated egg white, and it even out-performed the foaming of pure white protein. Therefore, a feasible solution to restore the foaming properties of yolk-contaminated egg white has been identified," wrote G. Wang and colleagues, Iowa State University.

The researchers concluded, "It is expected that such modified SPI can be used as an additive or ingredient in foaming formulation, especially when the egg white protein is suspected of lipid contamination."

Wang and colleagues published the results of their research in the Journal of Food Science ("Improving Foaming Properties of Yolk-Contaminated Egg Albumen by Basic Soy Protein." Journal of Food Science, 2009;74(8):C581-C587).

For additional information, contact T. Wang, Iowa State University, Dept. of Food Science & Human Nutrition, Ames, IA 50011.

From the November 9, 2009, Prepared Foods E-dition