Production and fractionation of antioxidant peptides from soy protein isolate using sequential membrane ultrafiltration and nanofiltration
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Antioxidants are molecules capable of stabilizing and preventing oxidation. Certain peptides, protein hydrolysates, have shown antioxidant capacities, which are obtained once liberated from the native protein structure. Soy protein isolates (SPI) were enzymatically hydrolyzed by pepsin and pancreatin mixtures. The soy protein hydrolysates (SPH) were fractionated with sequential ultrafiltration (UF) and nanofiltration (NF) membrane steps. Heat pre-treatment of SPI at 95 degrees celsius (C) for 5 min prior to enzymatic hydrolysis was investigated for its effect on peptide distribution and antioxidant capacity. SPH were subjected to UF with a 10 kDa molecular weight cut off (MWCO) polysulfone membrane. UF permeate fractions (lower molecular weight than 10 kDa) were fractionated by NF with a thin film composite membrane (2.5 kDa MWCO) at pH 4 and 8. Similar peptide content and antioxidant capacity (α=0.05) were obtained in control and pre-heated SPH when comparing the respective UF and NF permeate and retentate fractions produced. FCR antioxidant capacities of the SPH fractions were significantly lower than their ORAC antioxidant capacities, and the distribution among the UF and NF fractions was generally different. Most UF and NF fractions displayed higher antioxidant capacities when compared to the crude SPI hydrolysates, showing the importance of molecular weight on antioxidant capacity of peptides. The permeate fractions produced by NF at pH 8 displayed the highest antioxidant capacity, expressed in terms of Trolox equivalents (TE) per total solids (TS): 5562 μmol TE/g TS for control SPH, and 5187 μmol TE/g TS for pre-heated SPH. Due to the improvement in antioxidant capacity of peptides by NF at pH 8, the potential for NF as a viable industrial fractionation process was demonstrated. Principal component analysis (PCA) of fluorescence excitation-emission matrix (EEM) data for UF and NF peptide fractions, followed by multi-linear regression analysis, was assessed for its potential to monitor and identify the contributions to ORAC and FCR, two in vitro antioxidant capacity assays, of SPH during membrane fractionation. Two statistically significant principal components (PCs) were obtained for UF and NF peptide fractions. Multi-linear regression models (MLRM) were developed to estimate their fluorescence and PCA-captured ORAC (ORAC-FPCA) and FCR (FCR-FPCA) antioxidant capacities. The ORAC-FPCA and FCR-FPCA antioxidant capacities for NF samples displayed strong, linear relationships at different pH conditions (R-squared>0.99). Such relationships are believed to reflect the individual and relative combined contributions of tryptophan and tyrosine residues present in the SPH fractions to ORAC and FCR antioxidant capacities. Therefore, the proposed method provides a tool for the assessment of fundamental parameters of antioxidant capacities captured by ORAC and FCR assays.