Annual review of food science and technology

Off-flavor precursors in soy protein isolate and novel strategies for their removal.

PMID 23297776


Off-flavors remain a major hurdle in expanding the use of soy protein isolate (SPI) in mainstream food applications. The complexity in solving this problem arises from the presence of protein-bound precursors in SPI. Among the most predominant sources of off-flavors in SPI is the residual amount of phospholipids that contain polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs). Autoxidation of PUFAs generates several classes of volatile compounds that contribute to the beany, grassy, or green odor of SPI. In addition, several polyphenolic compounds, such as isoflavones, saponins, phenolic acids, etc., impart bitter and astringent tastes to SPI. Traditional methods for removing protein-bound precursors from SPI and their limitations are reviewed. The most notable trade-off of conventional methods is the loss of protein functionality to some degree. Therefore, pursuit of gentler treatments to overcome SPI off-flavor has been the focus of industry and academia alike. Novel approaches that employ β-cyclodextrin to remove both SPI-bound precursors and volatile compounds are described.