MSc Thesis Presentation: Protein structure-function relationship of commercial hempseed (Cannabis sativa L.) protein concentrate

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MSc Candidate

J. Shiva S. Vutukuru


Global population growth is forecasted to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, which calls for a thorough re-evaluation of today's food resources. Plant proteins portray excellent nutritional value with varied amino acid profiles. Based on extraction methods, proteins vary in nutritional value, composition, and functionality. Remarkably, hemp protein’s micro- and macronutrient abundance had led to its growing acceptability and popularity among consumers and food manufacturers alike. Most of the commercially available plant-based protein foods use pea protein. In this study, five different commercial hemp protein concentrates were analysed and compared to a commercial pea protein (control) in terms of colour, proximate composition, phenolic, mineral and carbohydrate fractions, water and oil holding capacity, emulsion activity and emulsion stability index, solubility at various pH, surface hydrophobicity, and gelling ability. Protein secondary structure were investigated using FT-Raman spectroscopy, whereas protein aggregation was investigated using Native and SDS-PAGE. The thermal behaviour of all samples was investigated using and DSC. Peak viscosity in pasting profiles corelated with denaturation temperature and water holding capacities of the proteins. Remarkably, as opposed to pea protein, hemp proteins retained their water holding capacity at high temperatures. SDS-PAGE suggested that an albumin fraction of hemp protein might have been responsible for such occurrence. The combination of SDS- and Native-PAGE at non-reducing native conditions also showed the presence of globular structures containing disulfide bridges. This is the first study showing the different behaviour of hemp protein concentrates as a function of processing, and their enormous and diverse functional attributes for developing future plant-based products.

Examination Committee

  • Dr. Hermann Eberl, Chair 
  • Dr. John Dutcher, Advisor 
  • Dr. Mario Martinez Martinez, Co-Advisor 
  • Dr. Anna Kate Shoveller, Graduate Faculty

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