Food proteins binding phenolics can improve the taste properties of phenolic-enriched food for health
Phenolics are naturally occurring food components (e.g. in wine, tea or fruits) generally described as beneficial for human health. Enrichment of foods with phenolics may be a potential tool for dietary-mediated disease prevention, but is primarily limited by the bitterness and astringency of phenolics. Using food proteins as carriers for phenolics, thereby possibly limiting their taste perception, might be a solution to this limitation. In this thesis, we investigate the structural features of both animal food proteins and phenolics influencing their interactions with each other.
Furthermore, the applicability of promising food protein-phenolic pairs for tackling bitterness is described. Important drivers for the interaction are an open protein structure rich in proline (e.g. as in milk β-casein) and a flexible phenolic structure containing a gallic acid group (e.g. as in epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), an abundant phenolic in green tea). Moreover, we show that food proteins-phenolic pairs with good binding properties can effectively reduce the bitterness perception of phenolics, which is promising for further food applications.