Structural and chemical changes induced by temperature and pH hinder the digestibility of whey proteins

Francesca Accardo, Giulia Leni, Tullia Tedeschi, Barbara Prandi, Stefano Sforza

Risultato della ricerca: Contributo in rivistaArticolo in rivista


In the food and feed industry, protein extraction is commonly performed under acid or basic conditions, combined with heat, in order to increase the extraction yield. Under severe processing conditions, proteins may undergo molecular modifications. Here, the effects of heating (30, 60, 90 °C) at different pH values (2, 7, 9, 11, 13) were evaluated on commercial whey proteins, used as a simplified protein model. The main structure and chemical modifications concerning protein aggregation, hydrolysis, insolubilization, amino acid degradation and racemization were investigated in detail. Using in vitro static models, the degree of protein hydrolysis and the released peptides were determined after the digestive process. Accumulation of molecular modifications was mostly observed after basic pH and high temperatures treatments, together with a marked decrease and modification of the digestibility profile. Instead, protein digestibility increased in neutral and acidic conditions in a temperature-dependent manner, even if some modification in the structure occurs.
Lingua originaleEnglish
pagine (da-a)132884-132894
Numero di pagine11
RivistaFood Chemistry
Stato di pubblicazionePubblicato - 2022


  • Heat treatment
  • Protein digestion
  • Protein modification
  • Whey proteins


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