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Biotechnol Adv. 1995;13(3):375-402.

Antifreeze proteins and their potential use in frozen foods.

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  • 1Department of Biology, University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada.


Antifreeze proteins (AFPs) are proteins that have the ability to modify the growth of ice, resulting in the stabilization of ice crystals over a defined temperature range and in the inhibition of the recrystallization of ice. AFPs are found in a wide range of organisms, including bacteria, fungi, plants, invertebrates and fish. Moreover, multiple forms of AFPs are synthesized within each organism. As a result, it should be possible to select an AFP with appropriate characteristics and a suitable level of activity for a particular food product. Antifreeze proteins may improve the quality of foods that are eaten while frozen by inhibiting recrystallization and maintaining a smooth texture. In foods that are frozen only for preservation, AFPs may inhibit recrystallization during freezing, storage, transport and thawing, thus preserving food texture by reducing cellular damage and also minimizing the loss of nutrients by reducing drip. Antifreeze proteins are naturally present in many foods consumed as part of the human diet. However, AFPs may be introduced into other food products either by physical processes, such as mixing and soaking, or by gene transfer.

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