Food Chemistry, 219, 2017, 169–178
A β-Lactoglobulin fraction (r-βLg) was isolated from whey hydrolysates produced with cardosins from Cynara cardunculus. The impact of the hydrolysis process on the r-βLg structure and the rheological properties of heat-induced gels obtained thereafter were studied at different pH values. Differences were observed between r-βLg and commercial β-Lg used as control. Higher values for the fluorescence emission intensity and red shifts of the emission wavelength of r-βLg suggested changes in its tertiary structure and more solvent-exposed tryptophan residues. Circular dichroism spectra also supported these evidences indicating that hydrolysis yielded an intermediate (non-native) β-Lg state.
The thermal history of r-βLg through the new adopted conformation improved the microstructure of the gels at acidic pH. So, a new microstructure with better rheological characteristics (higher conformational flexibility and lower rigidity) and greater water holding ability was founded for r-βLg gel. These results were reflected in the microstructural analysis by scanning electron microscopy.