The effect of cross-linking degree on physicochemical properties of surimi gel as affected by MTGase.J Sci Food Agric. 2021 Dec; 101(15):6228-6238.JS
The transglutaminase-induced cross-linking reaction can enhance the textural properties of surimi gels. However, when the cross-linking degree exceeds a certain range, surimi gels become brittle, giving the gel a special mouthfeel. Little information is to be found regarding the brittleness of surimi gel and its formation mechanism. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of cross-links on physicochemical properties of surimi gel and to analyze the reason for the textural variation of surimi gels regulated by cross-links.
When the cross-linking degree was lower than about 30%, the surimi gel could not be fractured and the surimi gel was mushy. When the cross-linking degree was around 40-55%, surimi gels without microbial transglutaminase (MTGase) presented an elastic texture, while surimi gels with MTGase displayed a tough texture. When the cross-linking degrees were 64.1% and 76.5%, surimi gels became brittle. Water holding capacity decreased with the increase in cross-linking degree and the cross-links released some combined water to free water. With the increase in cross-links, the pore equivalent diameter and the fractal dimension first decreased and then increased. When the cross-linking degree exceeded approximately 50%, hydrophobic interaction increased, consistent with the exposure of hydrophobic residues and the decrease in the water gap between proteins.
The changes in gel texture were related to micro-network structure, water status and microenvironment of proteins. It was demonstrated that the texture of slowly heated surimi-based products could be regulated by controlling the TGase-induced cross-links. © 2021 Society of Chemical Industry.