Effects of protease-assisted aqueous extraction on almond protein profile, digestibility, and antigenicity

Dias, Fernanda Furlan Goncalves, et al. “Effects of protease-assisted aqueous extraction on almond protein profile, digestibility, and antigenicity.” Current Research in Food Science 6 (2023): 100488. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.crfs.2023.100488


Almonds (Prunus dulcis) are one of the most consumed tree nuts worldwide and have been recognized as a healthy and nutritious food. Nevertheless, almonds are also a source of allergenic proteins that can trigger several mild to life-threatening allergic reactions. The effects of selected extraction conditions (aqueous vs. protease-assisted aqueous extraction) on the protein profile determined by proteomics analysis of excised SDS-PAGE gel bands, in vitro protein digestibility, and immunoreactivity of almond protein extracts, were evaluated. Proteolysis altered almond protein sequential and conformational characteristics thus affecting digestibility and antigenicity. Proteomics analysis revealed that enzymatic extraction resulted in the reduction of allergen proteins and epitopes. While complete hydrolysis of Prunin 1 and 2 α-chain was observed, Prunin 1 and 2 β-chains were more resistant to hydrolysis. Protein in vitro digestibility increased from 79.1 to 88.5% after proteolysis, as determined by a static digestion model. The degree of hydrolysis (DH) and peptide content of enzymatically extracted proteins during gastric and duodenal digestion were significantly higher than the ones from unhydrolyzed proteins. Proteolysis resulted in a 75% reduction in almond protein immunoreactivity as determined by a sandwich enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and a reduction in IgE and IgG reactivities using human sera. The present study shows that moderated hydrolysis (7% DH) using protease can be used as a strategy to improve almond protein digestibility and reduce antigenicity. This study’s findings could further enhance the potential use of almond protein hydrolysates in the formulation of hypoallergenic food products with improved nutritional quality and safety.