Whey protein isolate (WPI) was chemically modified by vanillic acid in order to enhance its cross-linkability by laccase enzyme. Incorporation of methoxyphenol groups created reactive sites for laccase on the surface of the protein and improved the efficiency of cross-linking. The vanillic acid modified WPI (Van-WPI) was characterized using MALDI-TOF mass spectrometry, and the laccase-catalyzed cross-linking of Van-WPI was studied. Furthermore, the vanillic acid modification was compared with the conventional approach to improve laccase-catalyzed cross-linking by adding free phenolic compounds. A small extent of the vanillic acid modification significantly improved the cross-linkability of the protein and made it possible to avoid color formation in a system that is free of small phenolic compounds. Moreover, the potential application of Van-WPI as emulsifier and the effect of cross-linking on the stability of Van-WPI emulsion were investigated. The post-emulsification cross-linking by laccase was proven to enhance the storage stability of Van-WPI emulsion.
- Vanillic acid modification
- color formation
- post-emulsification cross-linking