Innovative technologies for reducing the allergenicity of foods
The high hydrostatic pressures technique, generally used for pasteurization, can be applied to induce denaturation of the allergenic proteins in liquid and solid foods in appropriate conditions of treatment.
It is, therefore, an innovative process to be used as pre-treatment of raw allergenic materials (milk, eggs, flour, etc.) as an alternative to conventional treatments.
Treatment plants of allergenic foods.
Principle of operation
The treatment is based on the effect of very high hydrostatic pressures (from 1.000 to 7.000 bar) on the stability of allergenic proteins (whey protein, albumin, gluten, etc.).
The high hydrostatic pressures can be combined to the action of enzymes, which promote protein hydrolysis reducing the allergenicity of food processed.
ProdAl has know-how in high-pressure technology already experimented for the pasteurization of food (fruit purees and juices, canned vegetables, dairy and meat products) and for the formulation of new products.
It has laboratory and pilot scale facilities for the development of process conditions and analytical instrumentation necessary for the screening of the processed products.
Technological benchmark vs state of the art
The allergenicity is linked to an abnormal immune response in the human body induced by specific proteins. The traditional methods of treatment of foods with high allergenic power are based on protein denaturation (the alteration of the natural conformation of the protein at the level of the secondary and tertiary structure) by means of high temperature treatments or alternatively of enzymatic hydrolysis of proteins with the aim to improve their digestibility. Recent studies demonstrate the potential application of some innovative techniques for the stabilization of foods, such as pulsed electric fields (PEF) and the high hydrostatic pressure (HHP), which in suitable process conditions can cause the denaturation and aggregation of proteins. The HHP treatments can also promote the reactions of enzymatic hydrolysis under controlled conditions and temperatures close to the ambient.
- Targeted action on allergenic proteins through modest or non-existent heating.
- Ease of control and regulation of the process.
- Ability to integrate with other synergistic techniques.
- Ability to preserve the sensorial characteristics of the raw materials used.
- Need to test the technology on complex products
- Effectiveness of treatment tested only on model protein solutions
- Lack of sufficient experimental data for the scale-up of the process.
Stage of development of ProdAl
The technology is at the stage of basic research. We need further study and experimentation for the scale-up of the technique developed only on laboratory scale.
ProdAl has developed its know-how on the mechanism of protein denaturation and protein hydrolysis at high pressure and conducted experimental work on proteins relevant for the purposes of the preliminary study of the technical feasibility.
It is, therefore, able to offer assistance in the determination of optimum operating conditions for the treatment of specific allergenic proteins also through experimentation.
Companies in the dairy, flour-grinding-pasta maker, baking products.
Forms of collaboration
- Agreements for the prototyping and the market launch of new products processed by high hydrostatic pressures at low allergenicity.
- Consulting for the evaluation of the quality and shelf life of new products as a function of treatment conditions.
- Consultations on the industrial exploitation of the technology with impact on research activities.