Protein Response Property of Carrageenan gum

Protein Response Property of Carrageenan

1. The Protein Response Mechanism of  Carrageenan gum


In the primary structure, the whole Carrageenan gum molecule becomes strong anionic in the molecule structure and its half-ester sulfate group (R-OSO3-) has a relatively strong negative charge. In addition, this group and the protein charged group, when the pH value is not equal to the isoelectric point, can produce the ion-ion interaction with the amino of protein respectively or with the carboxyl of protein by bivalent cation.


In the secondary structure, although some macromolecules of protein have negative charge, the direct interaction can still occur so long as there is an exposed zone adjacent to amino acid residues with positive charge.  The κ-caseins in milk proteins experience interactions with Carrageenan gum in this way.


In the 3D spatial structure, the proteins in the solution assemble to form protein micelles and Carrageenan gum free in the solution can produce ionic reaction with the segments of exposed amino acid in protein micelles. According to the differences of concentration and pH value, coagulation sedimentation, suspension, and gelatinization effects can respectively occur. In meat products, however, the solid-state proteins, extracted by salt (such as pickle and tumbling techniques) or through heat treatment, can interact with each other and form a protein net structure. Carrageenan gum can strengthen this structure by the interaction with protein.


2. Practical Application


Reaction of Carrageenan gum in the Protein Solution

Prepare 1% dried skim milk solution, add Carrageenan gum, heat at temperature 80℃ for 30 minutes, and let it stand for about 24-48 hours. The results are shown in the following table.

Number Dosage of Carrageenan gum Changes after standing
1 0ppm Whey separation effect occurs in the upper part.
2 5ppm Whey separation effect occurs in the upper part.
3 30ppm The proteins agglutinate and precipitate at the bottom.
4 150ppm The solution is stable.
5 400ppm Weak gel is produced.



NO. 1: The heat can change the properties of milk proteins, break the suspension balance and gradually produce a coagulation effect.

NO. 2: A small amount of Carrageenan gum has no effect.

NO. 3: Carrageenan gum can produce the ion reaction with protein when its content is over 10ppm. A molecular chain of Carrageenan gum can absorb several thermal condensation protein molecules, form larger micelles and produce flocculation precipitation effect when reaching a certain weight and volume. Its practical use is the clarifying agent in beer because it can precipitate superfluous proteins in the wort.

NO. 4: When its content is relatively high such as over 100ppm, the molecular chains of Carrageenan gum decrease relative to the absorbed protein molecules. At the same time, it can have a thickening effect on the solution and partially produce weak gel. Consequently, at this time, it can suspend and stabilize the protein solution after absorbing protein molecules. This practical uses are the stabilizing agent in dairy drinks and the emulsion stabilizer in ice cream because it can stabilize and thicken milk protein solution.

NO. 5: With the increase of the Carrageenan gum dosage, when over 300ppm, the density of Carrageenan gum increases, the molecule chains become close to each other and form a double helix structure. It can also produce weak gel and include protein in the gel. Thereafter, if the dosage continues to increase, the gel will be more and more solid. This practical use is in custard and pudding.


Other influencing factors on the protein response property of Carrageenan gum include pH value, temperature, and ion concentration.

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On February 25th, 2013, posted in: carrageenan, Products and Techniques by Tags:

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