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Role of non-covalent interactions in the production of visco-elastic material from zein

Smith, Brennan M., Bean, Scott R., Selling, Gordon, Sessa, David, Aramouni, Fadi M.
Food chemistry 2014 v.147 pp. 230-238
food chemistry, disulfide bonds, elasticity (mechanics), viscosity, hydrophobic bonding, reducing agents, denaturation, urea, sodium chloride, zein, beta-mercaptoethanol, extensibility
The role of non-covalent interactions in the formation of visco-elastic material from zein was investigated. Hydrophobic interactions were evaluated through the addition of various salts from the Hofmeister series. Urea, ethanol, and beta mercaptoethanol (β-ME) were used to evaluate the effects of protein denaturation and disulfide bonds on zein’s ability to form a visco-elastic material. The addition of NaI and NaSCN altered the properties of visco-elastic materials made from zein, making them softer and more extensible, as did urea and ethanol. The addition of NaCl and Na2SO4 negatively impacted the ability of zein to from a visco-elastic material and at higher concentrations completely disrupted the formation of visco-elastic material. These results indicate that manipulating non-covalent interactions in zein can alter and in some cases, completely disrupt the formation of a visco-elastic material. Specifically this may be due to disruption of hydrophobic interactions within individual zein proteins or interactions between proteins. The reducing agent β-ME had little effect on zein’s ability to form a visco-elastic material. Therefore, the visco-elastic properties of zein arise as a result of non-covalent interactions.