A review of physical and chemical protein-gel induction


  • Alfonso Totosaus,

    Corresponding author
    1. Centro de Investigación en Ciencia y Tecnología de Alimentos, ICAp, Universidad Autónoma del Estado de Hidalgo,  Avenue Universidad Km. 1, Tulancingo 43600, HGO, México
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  • José G. Montejano,

    1. Instituto Tecnológico de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey-Querétaro, Apdo. Postal 37, Querétaro 72000, México
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  • Juan A. Salazar,

    1. Departamento de Biotecnología y Bioingeniería, CINVESTAV-IPN, Apdo. Postal 14-740, México City 07360, México
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  • Isabel Guerrero

    1. Departamento de Biotecnología, Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Iztapalapa, Apdo. Postal 55-535, México City  09340, México
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* Correspondent: Fax: +52 771717 2125;
e-mail: alfonso.totosaus@excite.com


Summary Protein gelation is important to obtain desirable sensory and textural structures in foods. Gelation phenomenon requires a driving force to unfold the native protein structure, followed by an aggregation retaining a certain degree of order in the matrix formed by association between protein strands. Protein gelation has been traditionally achieved by heating, but some physical and chemical processes form protein gels in an analogous way to heat-induction. A physical means, besides heat, is high pressure. Chemical means are acidification, enzymatic cross-linking, and use of salts and urea, causing modifications in protein–protein and protein–medium interactions. The characteristics of each gel are different and dependent upon factors like protein concentration, degree of denaturation caused by pH, temperature, ionic strength and/or pressure.