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In vitro oral processing of raw tomato: Novel insights into the role of endogenous fruit enzymes

Rabiti, Davide, Orfila, Caroline, Holmes, Melvin, Bordoni, Alessandra, Sarkar, Anwesha
Journal of texture studies 2018 v.49 no.4 pp. 351-358
depolymerization, enzyme activity, epitopes, fluorescence microscopy, fruits, gels, mastication, methanol, microstructure, mixing, mouth, particle size, pectinesterase, pectins, polygalacturonase, saliva, tomato puree, tomatoes, viscosity
During consumption of fruits, the breakdown of the fruit tissue due to oral processing (chewing, mixing with saliva) may activate or increase the rate of endogenous enzyme activities via the disruption of the cell wall, cellular decompartmentalization, and particle size reduction allowing the enzymes to reach their substrates. The aim of this study was to investigate the activity of one such endogenous fruit enzyme (pectin methylesterase [PME] [E.C.]) during in vitro oral processing of raw tomatoes and associated changes in viscosity and microstructure. Oral processing of tomatoes purees was examined in the presence of artificial saliva (AS) at 37°C. in vitro oral processing was followed using immunofluorescence microscopy, apparent viscosity measurements, spectrophotometric, and titrimetric techniques. The results demonstrated that PME had slight but significant activity in the tomato fruit during in vitro oral processing generating methanol as a function of oral processing time, which was further evidenced using immunolabeling techniques to detect methylated pectin epitopes. A significant shear‐thinning behavior of the tomato puree was observed due to dilution and/or endogenous fruit enzyme activity. These results suggest that activity of other fruit enzymes, such as polygalacturonase, which catalyzed the depolymerization of unmethylated pectin chains, might have resulted in a decrease in viscosity, which compensated for the increased potential for gel formation (if any) caused by PME. These interesting insights into the role of endogenous fruit enzymes might pave the way to the understanding of fruit viscosity modification occurring in the mouth and help in rational design of new fruit‐based products.