Cottonseed Meal Protein Isolate as a New Source of Alternative Proteins: A Proteomics Perspective

Tan, Chee Fan, et al. “Cottonseed Meal Protein Isolate as a New Source of Alternative Proteins: A Proteomics Perspective.” International Journal of Molecular Sciences 23.17 (2022): 10105.


Cottonseed meal (CSM) is a good source of dietary proteins but is unsuitable for human consumption due to its gossypol content. To unlock its potential, we developed a protein extraction process with a gossypol removal treatment to generate CSM protein isolate (CSMPI) with ultra-low gossypol content. This process successfully reduced the free and total gossypol content to 4.8 ppm and 147.2 ppm, respectively, far below the US FDA limit. In addition, the functional characterisation of CSMPI revealed a better oil absorption capacity and water solubility than pea protein isolate. Proteome profiling showed that the treatment improved protein identification, while SDS-PAGE analysis indicated that the treatment did not induce protein degradation. Amino acid analysis revealed that post-treated CSMPI was rich in branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). Mass spectrometry analysis of various protein fractions obtained from an in vitro digestibility assay helped to establish the digestibility profile of CSM proteins. Several potential allergens in CSMPI were also found using allergenic prediction software, but further evaluation based on their digestibility profiles and literature reviews suggests that the likelihood of CSMPI allergenicity remains low. Overall, our results help to navigate and direct the application of CSMPIs as alternative proteins toward nutritive human food application.