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J Agric Food Chem. 2005 Nov 2;53(22):8607-13.

Characterization and quantification of proteins in lecithins.

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Nestlé Research Center, Nestec Ltd., Vers-chez-les-Blanc, CH-1000 Lausanne, Switzerland.


Several methods for extraction and quantification of proteins from lecithins were compared. Extraction with hexane-2-propanol-water followed by amino acid analysis is the most suitable method for isolation and quantification of proteins from lecithins. The detection limit of the method is 15 mg protein/kg lecithin, and the quantification limit is 50 mg protein/kg. The relative repeatability limits for samples containing 0-500 and 500-5000 mg protein/kg sample were 12.6 and 7.5%, respectively. The protein recovery ranged between 101 and 123%. The protein content has been determined in different kinds of lecithins. The results were as follows: standard soy lecithins (between 232 and 1338 mg/kg), deoiled soy lecithin (342 mg/kg), phosphatydylcholine-enriched soy lecithins (not detectable and 163 mg/kg), sunflower lecithins (892 and 414 mg/kg), and egg lecithin (50 mg/kg). The sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis protein patterns of the standard soy and sunflower lecithins are very similar to those of soy flour. The protein profile of the egg lecithin shows several bands with a broad range of molecular masses. The molecular masses of the main proteins of soy lecithins and soy flour have been determined by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) and ranged from 10.5 to 52.2 kDa. Most of the major proteins from soy and sunflower lecithins identified by MALDI-MS and electrospray tandem MS belong to the 11S globulin fraction, which is one of the main fractions of soy and sunflower seeds. In addition, the seed maturation protein P34 from the 7S globulin fraction of soy proteins has also been identified in soy lecithins. This protein has been reported as the most allergenic protein in soybean.

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