Polyelectrolyte screening effects on the dissolution of whey protein gels at high pH conditions

Ruben Mercadé-Prieto, Pradeepta K. Sahoo, Robert J. Falconer, William R. Paterson, D. Ian Wilson

Producció científica: Article en revista indexadaArticleAvaluat per experts

27 Cites (Scopus)


The literature reports an optimum NaOH concentration for the alkaline cleaning of whey deposits or gels; at NaOH concentrations higher than this optimum, cleaning proceeds much more slowly. Although this phenomenon is of great importance in the cleaning of dairy equipment, no conclusive physical explanation has yet been presented. In this study, we present strong evidence that the dissolution rate is affected by the equilibrium-swelling ratio in β-lactoglobulin (βLg) gels. The swelling ratio is greatly reduced in the presence of salts due to the polyelectrolyte screening effect of the cations. This has been observed in free-swelling βLg gels using gravimetrical analysis and in the uniaxial swelling of WPC gel deposits using fluid dynamic gauging. At high dissolution pH (>13.3), the high Na+ concentration reduces swelling in spite of the high surface charge of the protein. It is proposed that the reduction of the free volume inside the gel impedes the transport of the protein aggregates out of the NaOH penetration zone. We have also observed that the final dissolution rate of gels pre-soaked in 1 M NaOH or NaCl is similar, despite the difference in pH, and much lower than for untreated gels: the high Na+ concentration in the soaked gels hinders swelling, inhibiting the disentanglement of the protein clusters regardless of the high pH.

Idioma originalAnglès
Pàgines (de-a)1275-1284
Nombre de pàgines10
RevistaFood Hydrocolloids
Estat de la publicacióPublicada - de des. 2007
Publicat externament


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