Modification of food proteins in processed foods for reduced allergenicity
The world is facing an increasing population and environmental burden, and therefore people are paying more attention to the exploitation of plants as a primary source of protein. However, replacing animal-derived protein with plant protein in our daily diet may have consequences since a number of individuals are allergic to plant proteins, especially those derived from wheat or legumes.
The present project aims to reduce the allergenicity of plant proteins through modification by polyphenols. The hypothesis that plant protein can react with polyphenols to reduce the allergenicity compared to the native protein will be tested, along with the hypothesis that these modifications can be attained by industrial processing will be tested.
The project contains three main objectives:
1) In a model system, the most efficient reaction between polyphenol and protein will be identified by determination of rate constants for the reaction between quinones and protein nucleophiles. This will allow us to guide the polyphenol-derived modification of plant proteins.
2) In a protein system, the protein structure and physicochemical properties the modified protein will be characterized using various spectroscopic analyses. Transport and immunological characteristics will be studied in vitro in cell lines.
3) In a food system, the use of protein processing procedures will be exploited for the potential to induce polyphenol-derived protein modifications, which reduce the overall allergenic potential.