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J Agric Food Chem. 2006 Mar 8;54(5):1753-8.

Interaction between protein, phytate, and microbial phytase. In vitro studies.

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  • 1DSM Food Specialties, R&D-FTD, P.O. Box 1, 2600 MA Delft, The Netherlands.


The interaction between protein and phytate was investigated in vitro using proteins extracted from five common feedstuffs and from casein. The appearance of naturally present soluble protein-phytate complexes in the feedstuffs, the formation of complexes at different pHs, and the degradation of these complexes by pepsin and/or phytase were studied. Complexes of soluble proteins and phytate in the extracts appeared in small amounts only, with the possible exception of rice pollards. Most proteins dissolved almost completely at pH 2, but not after addition of phytate. Phytase prevented precipitation of protein with phytate. Pepsin could release protein from a precipitate, but the rate of release was increased by phytase. Protein was released faster from a protein-phytate complex when phytase was added, but phytase did not hydrolyze protein. Protein was released from the complex and degraded when both pepsin and phytase were added. It appears that protein-phytate complexes are mainly formed at low pH, as occurs in the stomach of animals. Phytase prevented the formation of the complexes and aided in dissolving them at a faster rate. This might positively affect protein digestibility in animals.

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