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Associative phase separation in admixtures of pea protein isolates with gum Arabic and a canola protein isolate with i-carrageenan and alginate



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The overall goal of this thesis is to better understand mechanisms governing associative phase separation within admixtures of plant proteins (e.g., pea and canola) and anionic polysaccharides (e.g., gum Arabic, alginate or é-carrageenan). The process involves the electrostatic attraction between two biopolymers of opposing charges, and typically results in the formation of both soluble and insoluble complexes during an acidic pH titration. If successful, polysaccharides could be triggered to coat the protein’s surface to give novel, and hopefully improved functionality as ingredients for food and biomaterials. In the first study, the effect of protein enrichment and pH on the formation of soluble and insoluble complexes in admixtures of pea legumin (Lg) and vicilin (Vn) isolates with gum Arabic (GA) was investigated by turbidimetric, surface charge and fluorometric measurements. The solubility of the protein isolates and mixed biopolymer systems was also studied as a function of pH. Enrichment of the crude Lg and Vn isolates by low pressure liquid chromatography led to a shift towards higher pHs at the onset of soluble complex formation in the presence of GA for both protein isolates, whereas the onset of insoluble complex formation was unaffected. Complexation of the Lg (or Vn) isolates with GA resulted in a shift in the pH where neutrality (zeta potential = 0 mV) occurred to lower pH values, relative to the Lg (or Vn) isolates alone. In the case of the enriched Vn isloate, changes to its tertiary structure were observed by fluorometry upon complexation with GA, whereas no changes were found for the enriched Lg isolate. Complexation of Lg and Vn isolates with GA also had little effect on their solubilities relative to protein alone solutions. In the second study, the formation of soluble and insoluble complexes, and the nature of their interactions as determined by optical density analysis, were investigated in admixtures of canola protein isolate (CPI) and anionic polysaccharides (alginate and é-carrageenan) as a function of pH and biopolymer weight mixing ratio. The solubilities of formed complexes were also investigated versus protein alone. In both CPI-polysaccharide systems, critical pH associated with the onset of soluble and insoluble complexes shifted to higher pHs as the mixing ratios increased from 1:1 to 20:1 (CPI:polysaccharide), and then became constant. There complexes formed primarily through electrostatic attractive forces with secondary stabilization by hydrogen bonding. The solubilities of the CPI-alginate complexes were significantly enhanced relative to CPI alone or CPI-é-carrageenan, which were similar.



gum Arabic, optical denisty, canola protein isolate, pea protein isolate, i-carrageenan, alginate, complex coacervation, associative phase separation



Master of Science (M.Sc.)


Applied Microbiology and Food Science


Applied Microbiology and Food Science


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