Effects of copper ions on the characteristics of egg white gel induced by strong alkali

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Abstract

This study investigated the effects of copper ions on egg white (EW) gel induced by strong alkali. Changes in gel characteristics were examined through texture profile analysis, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), and chemical methods. The value of gel strength reached its maximum when 0.1% copper ions was added. However, the lowest cohesiveness values were observed at 0.1%. The springiness of gel without copper ions was significantly greater than the gel with copper ions added. SEM results illustrated that the low concentration of copper ions contributes to a dense and uniform gel network, and an open matrix was formed at 0.4%. The free and total sulphhydryl group content in the egg white protein gel significantly decreased with the increased copper. The increase of copper ions left the contents of ionic and hydrogen bonds basically unchanged, hydrophobic interaction presented an increasing trend, and the disulfide bond exhibited a completely opposite change. The change of surface hydrophobicity proved that the main binding force of copper induced gel was hydrophobic interaction. However, copper ions had no effect on the protein component of the gels. Generally, a low level of copper ions facilitates protein-protein association, which is involved in the characteristics of gels. Instead, high ionic strength had a negative effect on gels induced by strong alkali.

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