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J Agric Food Chem. 2003 Jan 1;51(1):229-35.

Effects of water activity and lipid addition on secondary structure of zein in powder systems.

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Laboratory of Quality Analysis and Assessment, Division of Agronomy and Horticultural Science, Graduate School of Agriculture, Kyoto University (Uji Campus), Gokasho, Uji, Japan.


The effects of water activity (A(w)) and lipid addition on the secondary structure of powdery zein were investigated using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy. Two fatty acid esters, i.e., the linolenic and eicosapentaenoic acid ethyl esters (LAE and EPE), were mixed with the zein powder. The powders were stored in the "dry" state (with silica gel) and the "humid" state (A(w) = 0.9). The powdery zein without the lipids was shown to have a high content of the intermolecular hydrogen-bonded beta-sheet in the "dry" state, indicating the presence of protein aggregates. An increase in A(w) induced a decrease in this beta-sheet, concomitant with increases in the alpha-helix and beta-turn structures. The addition of LAE caused decreases in the alpha-helix and intermolecular hydrogen-bonded beta-sheet of zein when the powder was stored in the "humid" state, suggesting the strong interaction of LAE and zein molecules. However, LAE did not affect the secondary structure of zein in the "dry" state. The addition of EPE hardly influenced the secondary structure of zein, irrespective of A(w). These results are discussed in relation to the antioxidative activity of zein in the powder system, which had studied previously.

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