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Br J Nutr. 2000 Nov;84 Suppl 1:S91-8.

Mineral-binding milk proteins and peptides; occurrence, biochemical and technological characteristics.

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  • 1Department of Food Science, Agricultural University of Norway, Aas, Norway.


Minerals and trace elements in cow's milk occur as inorganic ions and salts or form complexes with proteins and peptides, carbohydrates, fats and small molecules. The main mineral binder or chelators of calcium are the caseins, alphas1-casein, alphas2-casein, beta-casein and kappa-casein, but also whey proteins and lactoferrin bind specific minerals like calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, sodium and potassium. Less documented is the binding of trace elements. Peptides obtained by in vitro or in vivo hydrolysis act as mineral trappers through specific and non-specific binding sites. They may then function as carriers, chelators, of various minerals and thus enhance or inhibit bioavailability. Peptides from milk proteins have found interesting new applications in the food industry as products with improved functionality or as ingredients of dietary products, or used in pharmaceutical industry. Fortification of foods with minerals in a low concentration has for a long time been used in some countries to overcome mineral deficiency, which is an increasing problem in humans. These types of foods are being used to create a new generation of super foods in the industry today.

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