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Effect of pH on the gelation of walleye pollack surimi and carp actomyosin pastes


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ABSTRACT: The effect of pH on thermal gelation and transglutaminase (TGase; EC2.3.2.13)-induced suwari (setting) of surimi and actomyosin pastes was investigated. A strong and elastic gel was produced from walleye pollack surimi paste at pH 7.0 in the presence of Ca2+ using a two-step heating method. In contrast, walleye pollack actomyosin paste formed a weak gel under the same conditions as a result of the low concentration of endogenous TGase. In the presence of EGTA [ethyleneglycol bis(2-aminoethylether) tetraacetic acid], weak gels were formed at pH values of 7.0 and 6.0. Non-proteolytic modori (gel weakening) occurred extensively in the course of actomyosin gelation, but not in surimi gelation. Maximum TGase-induced myosin heavy chain cross-linking was observed at a slightly higher pH of 7.5 than at the optimal pH of endogenous TGase activity; the difference being derived from different substrates. Gelation of carp actomyosin paste at pH values of 5.5, 6.0, 6.5 and 7.0 was monitored by measuring storage modulus (G′) and loss modulus (G″). A weak gel was formed at all pH values, but a slightly rigid and less elastic gel was obtained at lower pH values. The addition of microbial TGase (MTGase) formed strong elastic gels at pH 7.0 and 6.5. MTGase cross-linked myosin heavy chains even at pH 5.5, but contributed neither to suwari response nor strong gel formation. Overall, results suggest that the optimal pH for the gelation of surimi paste from easy-setting fish species is a compromise between the pH-optima of TGase activity and of preferable actomyosin conformation for myosin cross-linking.