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Examination of the gelling properties of canola and soy protein isolates



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Canola protein isolate (CPI) has tremendous potential as a protein alternative to soy within the global protein ingredient market. The overall goal of this thesis was to compare and contrast the gelling mechanism of CPI with a commercial soy protein isolate (SPI) ingredient. Specifically, the gelation properties of CPI and SPI were evaluated as a function of protein concentration (5.0–9.0%), destabilizing agent [0.1 – 5.0 M urea; 0.1 and 1.0% 2-mercaptoethanol], ionic strength (0.1, 0.5 M NaCl) and pH (3.0, 5.0, 7.0, 9.0). The fractal properties of CPI were evaluated as a function of protein concentration (5.0 – 9.0%) and pH (3.0, 5.0, 7.0, 9.0). In the first study, the gelling properties of CPI and SPI as a function of concentration were evaluated, along with the nature of the interactions within their respective gel networks. Overall, the magnitude of the storage modulus (G') of the gel was found to increase with increasing concentration at pH 7.0, whereas the gelling temperature (Tgel) remained constant at ~88ºC. As the NaCl level was increased from 0.1 to 0.5 M, the zeta potential was found to be reduced from ~-20 to -4 mV, but with little effect on Tgel or network strength. In the presence of 2-mercaptoethanol, networks became weaker, indicating the importance of disulfide bridging within the CPI network. Disulfide bridging, electrostatics and hydrogen bonding are all thought to have a role in CPI gelation. In the case of SPI, the magnitude of the storage modulus (G') and Tgel were found to increase and decrease (~80ºC to 73ºC), respectively, with increasing urea concentration at pH 7.0. Increases in NaCl from 0.1 to 0.5 M reduced the zeta potential from ~-44 to -13 mV and caused a shift in Tgel from ~84ºC to 67ºC, and increased G'. No gels were formed in the presence of 2-mercaptoethanol. In the second study, the effect of pH on the gelling properties of CPI and SPI was evaluated. Surface charge (i.e., zeta potential) measurements as a function of pH found CPI to be positively (+18.6 mV), neutral and negatively (-32 mV) charged at pH 3.0, ~5.6 and 9.0, respectively. On the other hand, SPI was observed to be positively (+35.4 mV), neutral and negatively (-51 mV) charged at pH 3.0, 5.0 and 9.0, respectively. An increases in NaCl concentration from 0 M to 0.1 M resulted in a reduction in surface charge at all pHs for both CPI and SPI. Differential scanning calorimetry was performed to determine the thermal properties of CPI. The gelation temperature was found to be above the onset temperature for denaturation. For CPI, the onset of denaturation was found to occur at ~68ºC and then increased to ~78-79ºC at pH 7.0-9.0. With respect to rheological properties, SPI did not gel at pH 9.0, and G' declined as pH increased from 3.0 to 7.0. CPI did not gel at pH 3.0, however the network formed at pH 5.0 became stronger (higher G') as pH increased. The SPI gelling temperature at pH 3.0, 5.0 and 7.0 was observed to be ~85.6, ~46 and ~81ºC, respectively. SPI gels formed at pH 5.0 earlier due to increased protein aggregation near its isoelectric point (pI). The gelation temperature for CPI at pH 5.0 and 7.0 were similar (~88ºC), then declined at pH 9.0 (~82ºC). Network structure of CPI as a function of pH also was investigated using confocal scanning light microscopy (CSLM). As the pH became more alkaline from pH 7.0 to pH 9.0, there was a decrease in lacunarity (~0.41->~0.25). However, the fractal dimension was found to increase (from ~1.54 to ~1.82) showing that increasing the pH resulted in a more compacted CPI network. In summary, protein-protein aggregation induced either by increasing concentration or changing the pH resulted in network formation for both CPI and SPI, where both networks were thought to be stabilized by disulfide bridging and hydrogen bonding. SPI underwent protein aggregation earlier than CPI near its pI value, whereas CPI gels formed the strongest networks away from its pI under alkaline conditions. In all cases, CPI grew in diffusion-limited cluster-cluster aggregation to from the gel network.



Canola protein, Soy protein, Gelation, Fractal dimension



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Food and Bioproduct Sciences


Food Science


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