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Electrical conductivity: A simple and sensitive method to determine emulsifying capacity of proteins.

Authors
  • Guo, Anqi1
  • Xiong, Youling L1
  • 1 Department of Animal and Food Sciences, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky, USA.
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of Food Science
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2021
Volume
86
Issue
11
Pages
4914–4921
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/1750-3841.15930
PMID: 34636031
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Emulsifying capacity (EC) of proteins is a benchmark standard widely used to evaluate the quality of protein ingredients in emulsion foods. EC (mL of oil emulsified per g of protein) is usually measured by a sudden drop in electrical resistance (phase transition) with the continuous addition of oil to a specific protein solution. However, little is known about electrochemical mechanisms behind this process because resistance, measured with an ohmmeter, is not sensitive enough to monitor changes in the concentration of protein electrolytes. Here, pea (PPI), myofibrillar (MPI), and whey (WPI) protein isolates were vigorously homogenized with oil at a series of oil/protein ratios to prepare emulsions with different final protein concentrations. The conductivity was closely monitored using a conductivity meter. A linear relationship was discovered between conductivity and the final protein concentrations. At higher oil fractions, the migration of proteins from the aqueous phase to the oil-water interface limited protein mobility, leading to a conductivity drop. EC was calculated from the regression lines; when the starting protein concentration was raised from 0.5% to 2.0%, the EC of PPI, MPI, and WPI decreased from 717, 782, 1339 to 219, 303, and 540 mL oil/g protein, respectively. The dependence of EC on the initial protein concentration and the sensitivity of conductivity to the depleting protein electrolytes suggest that protein concentration is an important factor to consider when determining EC for a given protein or comparing EC among different proteins. PRACTICAL APPLICATION: The simple and sensitive electrical conductivity test described in this paper allows for the accurate determination of emulsifying capacity of proteins. It may be adopted by the food industry to compare the emulsifying properties of different protein ingredients. © 2021 Institute of Food Technologists®.

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