Proteins have many functions in foods. Beyond their nutritional properties, they play a wide range of structure, texture, and flavor roles. These roles can be modified with other ingredients, but consumers increasingly desire short ingredient statements with familiar and easy-to-identify components. Further, many households want ingredients in their foods that add a functional benefit such as beneficial bioactive compounds like polyphenols. Along with their bioactive properties, polyphenols are known to modify protein function.
Polyphenols are ubiquitous plant compounds that offer many potential health benefits including anti-inflammatory properties, cardiovascular benefits, and chemoprotective effects. The healthful perception of foods such as cranberries, dark chocolate, and red wine is derived primarily from the benefits of polyphenols.
The affinity of proteins and polyphenols for one another results in protein-polyphenol interactions that can be leveraged to expand protein functionality. There are a range of potential impacts of protein-polyphenol interactions based on the specific proteins and polyphenols interacted, as well as the conditions under which they interact. This talk will focus on sorting through those potentials and identifying processing conditions that produce desired results.