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J Sci Food Agric. 2013 Sep;93(12):2939-44. doi: 10.1002/jsfa.6120. Epub 2013 Apr 16.

Triggering mechanisms for oxygen-scavenging function of ascorbic acid-incorporated whey protein isolate films.

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Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA.



Incorporation of ascorbic acid (AA) into whey protein isolate (WPI) films has been shown to increase the film's ability to protect foods from oxidation. The O₂-scavenging function of AA-WPI films could be triggered upon being placed in contact with food products. Several food-related factors hypothesized to act as triggering mechanisms for activating the O₂-scavenging function of AA-WPI films were investigated, including change of water activity (a(w)), pH and/or metal catalyst presence.


Rate of O₂ scavenging of AA-WPI films was observed to most closely follow first-order kinetics. The film a(w) level was found to control the O₂-scavenging rate. At high a(w) levels, O₂ scavenging occurred at a desirably rapid rate. Food models with pH 7.4 produced the fastest O₂-scavenging rate. The slowest rate at pH 3.0 was due to the lower concentration of O₂-sensitive ascorbate monoanion. The presence of Cu²⁺ accelerated AA oxidation at high a(w) level.


The desirable activation of oxygen scavenging in AA-WPI film at high a(w) and neutral pH in the presence of metal catalyst suggests that such AA-WPI films can be used to protect foods that have the highest vulnerability to oxidation.


ascorbic acid; edible films; kinetics; oxygen scavenger; whey protein

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