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Application of Transglutaminase Enzymes in Meat Products

Application of Transglutaminase Enzymes in Meat Products


Transglutaminase enzyme (hereinafter referred to as TG enzyme)  is an ideal protein amendment, which can catalyze the intramolecular and intermolecular linking of proteins, the linking between proteins and amino acids to hydrolyze the intramolecular glutamine group of proteins, and improve the function and properties of proteins.

During the processing of meat products, the properties of the formed gel largely determine the characteristics of the finished product. The addition of transglutaminase enzyme can significantly improve the gel quality, elasticity, slicability and yield of meat. Therefore, transglutaminase enzyme is widely used in the processing of various meat products. The advantages of transglutaminase enzyme application in meat production have showed below.

I. Transglutaminase enzyme can optimize product texture structure and quality.

The texture structure of meat products is an important feature, and it is also a key factor affecting consumer choices. Adding transglutaminase enzymes can significantly improve the quality of meat products. Some researchers have studied the quality impact of adding transglutaminase enzymes on chicken meat  balls. The result presented that the amount of enzyme added is inverse ratio to the hardness of chicken balls. At the same time, it was also found that filling 1% transglutaminase enzyme to hams ,TG enzemy can significantly improve firmness, elasticity and chewiness of hams. The slicability of ham can also be improved with the addition of Prolink BR-INJ transglutaminase enzyme to ham.


2. Transglutaminase enzyme can enhance water retention

Water retention is an important quality indicator of meat products. It determines the color, fragrance, taste, nutrition, juicy, tenderness and other edible quality of meat products, affecting economic value.  

 Because the spatial network structure formed by the transglutaminase enzyme can accommodate a large amount of water, it can prevent the phenomenon of water draining and shrinkage of meat in processing and improve the product's cooking rate. The main reason is that the transglutaminase enzymes improve the thermal stability of the gel network structure in meat products, then increase the performance rate.

Meat processing often produces minced meat and meat scraps. This phenomenon have arisen a question how to recombine these low-value meats to improve their application and economic value. Transglutaminase enzyme can form protein intramolecular and intermolecular cross-links, so it is widely used in meat product reorganization. Transglutaminase enzyme catalyzes protein intramolecular and intermolecular cross-linking to form new types of proteins, which are not easily broken in general molecular chains under non-enzymatic catalytic conditions, so the meat treated by this enzyme will not be cracked after forming by freezing, thawing, cooking and other treatment methods, and the use of transglutaminase enzyme can reassemble minced meat into complete chunks of meat, which largely improves the utilization of raw materials.

3. Transglutaminase enzymes develop healthy and nutritious meat products

Salt and phosphate play an important role in the structure of meat products and are essential food additives in the processing of meat products. The long-term intake of excessive salt is harmful to human bodies. Thus, developing low-salt, healthy and nutritious meat products is a hot topic for meat product research in recent years, and transglutaminase enzyme is a powerful tool for the development of such products. During the production of meat products, transglutaminase enzyme can reduce the amount of food additives, while maintaining the original meat flavor.

 Researchers in Japan have shown that protein whose formation is catalyzed by transglutaminase enzyme can be used as a fat substitute. By modifying gelatin with transglutaminase enzyme, a certain percentage of pork fat could be replaced in making hamburgers. Meanwhile, the Japan study was found that compared to products containing 100% pork fat, there was no significant difference in color and flavor, while the fat content decreased 2% compared to the former, which is a low-fat food.

4. TG enzyme can explore the source of raw meat

Beef, mutton and poultry meat are rich in nutrition with low fat and high protein.  Their ratio has now risen to 35% in the meat consumption structure. 

At present, developing high quality beef, mutton and poultry meat products is an urgent problem in the future meat products market. But the development of such products is limited by the defects of the raw material meat itself. For example, the production of sausage from chicken meat is not as hard enough. However, by adding transglutaminase enzyme to chicken as raw material, the hardness and elasticity of sausages were found to be significantly improved.

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