Incorporated glucosamine adversely affects the emulsifying properties of whey protein isolate polymerized by transglutaminase

Lin Chen, Niamat Ullah, Chenyi Li, Robert M. Hackman, Zhixi Li, Xinglian Xu, Guanghong Zhou, Xianchao Feng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Glucosamine (GlcN) and microbial transglutaminase (Tgase) are used separately or together to improve the emulsifying properties of whey protein isolate (WPI). However, little is known about how the emulsifying properties change when GlcN residues are incorporated into WPI cross-linked by Tgase. We used Tgase as a biocatalyst to cross-link WPI in the presence of GlcN in a liquid system for 12 h at a moderate temperature (25°C). Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry analyses indicated that protein polymerization and GlcN conjugation occurred simultaneously, phenomena also supported by the loss of free amines (9.4–20.5%). Addition of 5 U Tgase/g protein improved the emulsifying properties of moderately cross-linked WPI polymers. The Tgase-treated WPI polymers had a larger particle size (∼2.6-fold) than native WPI, which may have reduced coalescence and flocculation in an oil-in-water emulsion system. However, the incorporation of GlcN residues into WPI, predominantly via enzymatic glycation, partly inhibited the cross-links between the WPI molecules catalyzed by Tgase, reducing the size of the WPI polymers 0.81- to 0.86-fold). Consequently, WPI+GlcN conjugates provided less stability to the emulsion. Moreover, high NaCl concentration (0.2 M) decreased the emulsifying properties of the WPI+GlcN conjugates by neutralizing negative electric charges in the glycoconjugates. However, the improved emulsifying properties of WPI cross-linked by Tgase may be useful in food processing at higher NaCl concentrations due to the formation of the thicker steric barrier at the oil-water interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3413-3423
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Dairy Science
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017


  • cross-linked whey protein isolate
  • glucosamine
  • microbial transglutaminase
  • whey protein isolate and glucosamine conjugates

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Genetics


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