Investigating Phenolic-Mediated Protein Matrix Development for Potential Control of Cereal Starch Digestion
thesisposted on 15.08.2019 by Leigh C R. Schmidt
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Shifts in the human diet to more refined foods and ingredients have contributed to the rise in metabolic disease rates associated with long-term consumption of foods causing swift rises in blood glucose response. Foods which result in a more moderate blood glucose curve are considered healthier by increasing satiety and reducing oxidative stress. Sorghum products contain naturally slowly digested starch. The matrix of sorghum porridges contains kafirin protein bodies which cross link around gelatinizing starch molecules, while similar nascent matrices in other cereals aggregate and collapse. The 3-deoxyanthocyanidin pigments unique to sorghum may be accountable for the difference in matrix stability. The density of the starch entrapped in the matrices is thought to partially inhibit α-amylase access to the starch, reducing overall starch digestion and thereby mitigating glucose response. The purpose of this work was to increase our understanding of how phenolic compounds in sorghum interact with endosperm proteins to create a stable matrix, and to explore if the knowledge might be translated to other starchy cereal products. In the first study, phenolic extracts from flours (sorghum, corn masa, white rice) were characterized for phenolic content, antioxidant activity, phenolic components, and their ability to interact with a model protein system (ovalbumin) in order to examine protein polymerization. In the second study, specific phenolic compounds in sorghums (p-coumaric, sinapic, and gallic acids; (+)-catechin; and apigeninidin, a 3-deoxyanthocyanidin found in sorghums) were interacted in the model protein system at different concentrations to observe extent and type of protein polymerization, and promising compounds subjected to fluorescence quenching spectroscopy to examine the nature of the interactions. The final study explored the effects of apigeninidin addition to a yellow corn flour and naturally present anthocyanin (blue corn) on starch digestion and microstructure of porridges by utilizing an in vitro α-amylase assay and confocal microscopy.
The slow digestion of starch in cooked sorghum products can be attributed to the 3-deoxyanthocyanidin compounds present in the grain participating in sulfhydryl-disulfide interchanges which results in extensive kafirin cross-linking surrounding starch granules. While other phenolic and redox-active components may affect matrix formation and stability, 3-deoxyanthocyanidins appear to have the most direct influence, and their ability to modify food protein matrices appears to have a direct result on starch digestion in vitro.