Helsingin yliopisto


Helsingin yliopiston verkkojulkaisut

University of Helsinki, Helsinki 2006

Prolamin degradation in sourdoughs

Jussi Loponen

Doctoral dissertation, December 2006.
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Food Technology, Cereal Technology.

This thesis examines protein behaviours that occur during cereal fermentations. The focus is on the prolamin degradation in sourdoughs. The thesis also looks at what happens to the oat globulins during an oat bran acidification process.

The cereal prolamins are unique proteins in many respects. The wheat prolamins (glutenins and gliadins) are responsible for the formation of the gluten that provides the viscoelastic properties to wheat doughs whereas the rye prolamins (secalins) are unable to develop gluten-like structures. In addition, many baking technological features, such as flavour, shelf-life and dough properties are affected by the protein degradation that might occur during processing. On the other hand, the prolamins contain protein structures that are harmful to gluten sensitive people. It is thus evident that the degradation of the prolamins in sourdough processes may be approached from various aspects. This thesis describes some of these approaches.

Four different cereal fermentations were carried out. Wheat sourdough (WSD) and rye sourdough (RSD) fermentations represented traditional sourdoughs. A germinated-wheat sourdough (GWSD) was a novel sourdough type that was prepared using germinated wheat grains that had high and diverse proteolytic activities. The oat bran fermentation (OBF) represented a fermentation system that lacked functional cereal proteases.

The high molecular weight glutenins and rye secalins were degraded during the WSD and RSD fermentations, respectively. It was noteworthy that in WSD only a very limited degradation of the gliadins occurred. The gliadins were, however, hydrolysed very extensively during the GWSD fermentation. No protein degradation was observable in the OBF system. Instead the acidification altered the solubility of the oat globulins and this finally led to their aggregation.

This thesis confirms that the endogenous proteases of cereals hydrolyse cereal prolamins in sourdoughs. The thesis also shows that the proteolytic activity of the used cereal raw material determines the extent of proteolysis that occurs in sourdough. This means that bakers may adjust the protein degradation in their sourdoughs by selecting the raw material based on its proteolytic activity. The thesis also demonstrates that by using germinated grains, with high and diverse proteolytic activity in sourdough preparations, the prolamins can be extensively degraded. Whether such highly proteolytic food technology could be used to manufacture new gluten-free cereal-based products for gluten sensitive people remains to be solved.

The title page of the publication

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© University of Helsinki 2006

Last updated 27.11.2006

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