Using Chemistry to Manage Protein-Flavor Complications Presentation

Originally Published: September 8, 2014
Last Updated: March 10, 2021

“Using Chemistry to Manage Protein-Flavor Complications” was presented at the 2014 Protein Trends & Technologies Seminar by Robert J. McGorrin, Ph.D., Department Head & Jacobs-Root Professor, Food Science & Technology, Oregon State University.

Abstract: Despite the draw that proteins bring to food products, taste remains king for commercial success. Favoring protein-based products often proves a daunting task. Starting with the fundamentals of flavoring systems, this presentation provides insights and advice into how to maximize this key sensory attribute of foods and beverages.

Excerpt from the written summary of this presentation: Prefacing his talk with the acknowledgment that flavor can make or break a product’s commercial success and consumer acceptance, McGorrin quickly got down to explaining how and why product flavor goes wrong—whether by way of heat, processing, oxidation, pH fluctuations or interactions with other ingredients—namely, proteins.

It’s not that proteins themselves contribute unwanted flavors— although volatile impurities in protein ingredients (and amino acids) certainly can. Rather, it’s what happens when proteins bind, absorb, release or otherwise react with constituents of the product matrix—flavor ingredients, in particular. The off-notes that result are infamous among product developers, and McGorrin presented an inventory of classic flavor defects attributable to common protein sources and ingredients.

For instance, alcohol- and ketone-containing flavors might form hydrophobic bonds with the beta-lactoglobulin proteins in whey. While these bonds are largely reversible, more permanent covalent bonds can form between aldehydes, like the benzaldehyde responsible for cherry flavor, and the amino acid dipeptide aspartame in, say, an artificially sweetened soda. When this happens, McGorrin explained, what’s known as a Schiff base forms, and over the soda’s shelflife at room temperature, both the cherry character and its sweetness can disappear.

Click here to view the written summary “Applying Chemistry to Solve Protein Flavoring Issues of this presentation.

Click on the button below to download a PDF of McGorrin’s PowerPoint presentation “Using Chemistry to Manage Protein-Flavor Complications.”

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