Curr Res Food Sci. 2022 Aug 8;5:1235-1242. doi: 10.1016/j.crfs.2022.07.016. eCollection 2022.
Alkaline extraction is an important process in the integrated biorefining of leafy biomass to obtain protein, but the resulting alkaline protein extract (APE) may have poor emulsification properties for food applications. In this study, the components in the APE fractionations obtained by size exclusion chromatography were determined. The emulsification properties of APE were determined using oil/water with a ratio of 7:3. Whey protein and soybean protein isolate were used as controls while enzymes were used to improve APE’s emulsification properties. The results showed that the APE could be divided into three fractions with protein content of 83, 56, and 34%. Carbohydrates mainly derived from homogalacturonan pectin were mostly in Fraction 2, while Fraction 3 consisted of peptides, oligosaccharides, and free polyphenols. The APE had similar emulsification capacity and emulsification stability as those of whey protein and soybean isolate. The emulsion made by the APE had a creaming index of 92% with emulsification activity index value of 44 m2 g-1, and these numbers could retain after storing at 25 °C for 15 days. The emulsification properties of the APE can be further improved by carbohydrate degradation. With the use of Viscozyme® L, the emulsification activity index value of treated APE was increased by 60%, and then still retained at 67 m2 g-1 after storing for 15 days. Treated by either pepsin or alkaline protease, the emulsification properties of APE were decreased, suggesting the key role of protein in APE for emulsification.