Functional properties of whey protein and its application in nanocomposite materials and functional foods
Whey is a byproduct of cheese making; whey proteins are globular proteins which can be modified and polymerized to add functional benefits, these benefits can be both nutritional and structural in foods. Modified proteins can be used in non-foods, being of particular interest in polymer films and coatings. Food packaging materials, including plastics, can linings, interior coatings of paper containers, and beverage cap sealing materials, are generally made of synthetic petroleum based compounds. These synthetic materials may pose a potential human health risk due to presence of certain chemicals such as Bisphenol A (BPA). They also add to environmental pollution, being difficult to degrade. Protein-based materials do not have the same issues as synthetics and so can be used as alternatives in many packaging types. As proteins are generally hydrophilic they must be modified structurally and their performance enhanced by the addition of waterproofing agents. Polymerization of whey proteins results in a network, adding both strength and flexibility. The most interesting of the food-safe waterproofing agents are the (large aspect ratio) nanoclays. Nanoclays are relatively inexpensive, widely available and have low environmental impact. The clay surface can be modified to make it organophilic and so compatible with organic polymers. The objective of this study is the use of polymerized whey protein (PWP), with reinforcing nanoclays, to produce flexible surface coatings which limit the transfer of contents while maintaining food safety. Four smectite and kaolin type clays, one treated and three natural were assessed for strengthening qualities and the potential waterproofing and plasticizing benefits of other additives were also analyzed. The nutritional benefits of whey proteins can also be used to enhance the protein content of various foodstuffs. Drinkable yogurt is a popular beverage in the US and other countries and is considered a functional food, especially when produced with probiotic bacteria. Carbonation was applied to a drinkable yogurt to enhance its benefits. This process helps reduce the oxygen levels in the foodstuff thus potentially being advantageous to the microaerophilic probiotic bacteria while simultaneously producing a product, somewhat similar to kefir, which has the potential to fill a niche in the functional foods market. Yogurt was combined with a syrup to reduce its viscosity, making it drinkable, and also to allow infusion of CO2. This dilution reduced the protein content of the drink and so whey protein concentrate was added to increase levels in the final product. High-methoxyl pectins were used to provide stability by reducing the tendency of the proteins to sediment out. The objectives of this study were to develop a manufacturing technology for drinkable carbonated symbiotic yogurts, and to evaluate their physicochemical properties. Two flavors of yogurt drink, pomegranate and vanilla, were formulated containing inulin as prebiotic, along with probiotic bacteria, producing symbiotic dairy beverages.
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- Agriculture, Food Science and Technology;Engineering, Materials Science