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Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2006;46(4):337-50.

Creating proteins with novel functionality via the Maillard reaction: a review.

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Food Science Postgraduate Programme, Department of Chemistry, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92 019, Auckland, New Zealand.


Proteins are widely utilized to add functional properties, such as gelling and emulsification to foods. These attributes depend on a number of factors such as molecular structure of the protein, the pH, and the composition of its chemical environment. There is substantial evidence to suggest that the functional properties of food proteins can be further improved by derivatization. Covalent bonding of proteins to polysaccharides and smaller reducing sugars via the Maillard reaction has been shown to alter the functionality of proteins without requiring the addition of chemical reagents. Establishment of a technologically feasible method for preparing the conjugates and optimization of the processing conditions, however, is needed to promote their development as functional food ingredients. This paper provides a state-of-the-art contribution to the impact of the Maillard reaction on protein functionality. It presents a deeper understanding of the influence of processing conditions and reactant formulation on improving desirable properties of proteins. In particular attention is given to how potential improvements could be achieved in the emulsifying, textural, and solubility properties of proteins to add value to commodity food ingredients. Elements that are considered to be critical to the design of functional Maillard conjugates are highlighted and suggestions proposed to facilitate progress in this area.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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