Amino acids

Cross-linking of wheat gluten proteins during production of hard pretzels.

PMID 21822731


The impact of the hot alkaline dip, prior to pretzel-baking, on the types and levels of cross-links between wheat proteins was studied. Protein extractability of pretzel dough in sodium dodecyl sulfate containing buffer decreased during alkaline dipping [45 s, 1.0% (w/v) NaOH, 90°C], and even more during baking (3 min at 250°C) and drying (10 min at 135°C). Reducing agent increased the extractability partly, indicating that both reducible (disulfide, SS) and non-reducible (non-SS) protein cross-links had been formed. The decrease in cystine levels suggested β-elimination of cystine releasing Cys and dehydroalanine (DHA). Subsequent reaction of DHA with Lys and Cys, induced the unusual and potentially cross-linking amino acids lysinoalanine (LAL) and lanthionine (LAN), respectively, in alkaline dipped dough (7 μmol LAN/g protein) and in the end product (9 μmol LAL and 50 μmol LAN/g protein). The baking/drying step increased sample redness, decreased Lys levels more than expected based on LAL formation (57 μmol/g protein), and induced a loss of reducing sugars (99 μmol/g protein), which suggested the potential contribution of Maillard-derived cross-links to the observed extractability loss. However, levels of Maillard products which possibly cross-link proteins, are small compared to DHA-derived cross-links. Higher dipping temperatures, longer dipping times, and higher NaOH concentrations increased protein extractability losses and redness, as well as LAL and LAN levels in the end product. No indications for Maillard-derived cross-links or LAL in pretzel dough immediately after dipping were found, even when severe dipping conditions were used.