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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Related Topics

Research Project: Microstructured and Health-Functionalized Food Proteins

Location: Dairy and Functional Foods

2012 Annual Report


1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Develop functionalized healthy food protein ingredients using micro-texturing and microstructuring processes such as microparticulation, micro-shear, and extrusion texturization processes for producing texture-induced or enhanced physical modifications with ex/in vivo functionality.

Develop protein-based food models with enhanced nutrients using functionalized healthy food protein ingredients developed by improving structure-function interactions of food matrices using the encapsulatory properties of functionalized healthy protein.


1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Advance our work on texturization of whey proteins, transitioning into functionalizing proteins for delivering maximal nutrient levels for improved health functions. This project on microstructured and health-functional food proteins will create new food protein-based structures boosted with nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients using shear texturization and microparticulation techniques. The nutrient-enriched products will be used for protected-delivery of micronutrients aimed at conveying health-enhancing functions such as increased satiety and appetite control, helping to alleviate obesity. The outcome of these efforts will be new functionalized structured products with specific nutrient delivery functions that boost the quality of processed foods, delivering health and wellness, thereby making processed foods more wholesome.


3.Progress Report:
Microstructured and health-functionalized proteins were created by shear texturization processes developed using the IKA Process-Pilot (2000/4) high shear homogenizer. Full factorial experiments were conducted to determine the effect of shear on protein alone, starch alone, and protein and starch combined (50/50). The study encompassed logical combinations of the following variables:.
1)Protein/carbohydrate ratio,.
2)Temperature,.
3)pH, and.
4)shearing speed.

The products were evaluated using quick assays: particle size, rheology, pasting properties, and spectrophotometry. Other basic chemical reaction mechanisms are being elucidated. For example, work is beginning on increasing the binding properties of fat soluble vitamins such as D3 to derivatized whey proteins using Circular Dichroism and fluorescence spectroscopic techniques.

The rate of dissolution of food materials may affect levels of nutrients and their availability for absorption within the human digestive system. The rate of absorption can further be mitigated by the viscosity of the surrounding medium. We modeled the rates of dissolution of variously formulated foods in media of different viscosity. Dissolution modalities for starch and protein materials were determined in water with 1 to 5% sodium alginate, or with simulated gastric fluids. Depending on the structure of material, protein or starch, or type of media, dissolution rates varied significantly.


4.Accomplishments
1. Food Security in Sub-Saharan Africa. Cowpea and plantain flours were developed for long-term ambient storage to reduce postharvest losses of indigenous local raw materials, increase economic value, and provide nutritional benefits as low glycemic foods that help fight obesity in the United States. The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) through the USDA ARS Office of International Research Program funded this project aimed at developing cowpea enriched plantain snacks using various technologies including high pressure high temperature cooking. ARS researchers at Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania developed cowpea—rich in proteins and plantain—rich in iron and other minerals are staples in Ghana and many sub-Saharan African countries, and can be used to deliver high levels of protein, energy, vitamins, and minerals. This project addressed the President’s Global Hunger and Food Security, and Feed the Future (FTF) initiatives.


Review Publications
Qi, P.X., Nunez, A., Wickham, E.D. 2012. Reactions between beta-lactoglobulin and genipin: kinetics and characterization of the products. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 60:4327-4335.

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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