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ÖgeEmerging approaches for non-thermal modification of proteins isolated from de-oiled sunflower cake(Graduate School, 2021-09-10) Gültekin Subaşı, Büşra ; Çağanoğlu Güven, Esra ; 506172506 ; Food EngineeringWhen considered their biological accessibilities, animal-based proteins are known to be closer to the concept of "complete protein" rather than that of plant-based proteins with their higher bioavailabilities. However, increment of world population, damaging of natural sources due to false agricultural policies and climate crisis, high carbon release ratios during their production, high potential for extreme consumption and pollution of water sources, animal welfare issues, religion/ethnic concerns, expansion of diet styles and philosophies like veganism/vegetarianism are all some of the major reasons of community, industry, and food scientists' increased attention about sustainable plant-based proteins in order to replace animal proteins, day by day. Along with their nutritional importance, due to owning the techno-functional properties such as foaming, film/gel-forming, and emulsification, proteins had extensive application areas in the food industry. Recent studies concerning the sustainable plant-based protein sources mainly focused on protein extraction or recovery that have functional properties from plant wastes and/or by-products. Discovery of novel plant proteins with high or improvable techno-functionalities is of extreme importance due to being used as the replacers of animal-based proteins, urgently. For this purpose, sunflower is one of the most studied plants as a protein source coming after the soy, which is the heading plant for this area in the world. Due to having a high protein content, including no allergenic or toxicologic concerns enable the sunflower press cake, which is the oil extraction by-product, more attractive for the mentioned purposes. Under the lights of these explanations, research was planned to frame the characterization and investigating the techno-functional properties of proteins that will be extracted from industrially de-oiled sunflower cake. The objectives of this Ph.D. thesis was (i) isolation and characterization of proteins from de-oiled sunflower cake; (ii) developing a novel non-thermal treatment approach aiming to change the structural properties of protein isolate; (iii) proposing a novel non-thermal treatment perspective using a well-known thermal method aiming to change the structural properties with the purpose of improving its functionality (iv) and investigating the effect of this proposed method on sunflower protein emulsification property in detail. Four different experimental studies (Chapters 3-6) were conducted in order to fulfill the declared purposes. Initially, protein isolates were extracted from de-oiled sunflower cake, characterized and its functional properties were evaluated from a wide-angle perspective (Chapter 3). Then the protein was exposed to a developed nonthermal "moderate electric field treatment" against a reference protein and their structural differences were assessed (Chapter 4). Based on obtained data from the previous chapter, another novel approach, "non-thermal electromagnetic field treatment" was proposed and applied on dry powder protein thereafter the structural alterations of protein were discussed (Chapter 5). Emulsification properties of proteins that were treated with non-thermal electromagnetic field were examined extensively (Chapter 6). In Chapter 1, the main goals and the scope of this present Ph.D. thesis are defined. Right after in Chapter 2, a review study that comprehensively covering the techno-functional properties and potential modification methods of sunflower protein are presented. Initially, compositions of studied sunflower proteins with their quantitative content ranges were reported. Following that, the ways of how de-oiled press cake and isolated sunflower protein were applied in real food systems have been reviewed. Afterwards, the varying methods for protein extraction, isolation of phenolic compounds, and recovery for removed phenolics were assessed. As the last but is the focal point of this review was examining all defined and studied functional properties of sunflower protein up to date, and the modification methods that were used to improve them. In Chapter 3, both types of protein isolated were extracted from sunflower cake; as it is in natural form with phenolic compounds and as de-phenolized isolates. Natural phenolic compounds (dominantly chlorogenic and caffeic acids) that exist in the press cake make complexes with protein molecules and are isolated as adjoints to the structure. In this part, the effect of these natural phenolic compounds on protein content, color, amino acid and mineral compositions, protein surface structure, protein secondary structure, thermal properties, ζ-potential, foaming and the viscoelastic properties at the air/water interface were investigated. According to the proximate composition analysis, it was observed that the moisture and the crude protein ratios increased around 59 and 9%, respectively while the ash content decreased 53% when the phenolic compounds were achieved to be removed at 98%. The color of dephenolized protein was visibly changed from dark green to light brown, the protein surface was observed as roughened and porous rather than natural protein isolate. Isoelectric points were calculated as pH. 4.37 and 4.82 for natural and de-phenolized sunflower proteins, respectively. After the removal of phenolic compounds, significant decreases for all minerals were observed except for Se and Sr. No significant changes were obtained for protein secondary structure and thermal properties however, its hydrophobicity increased when de-phenolized. The most substantial differences were observed for foam stability and interfacial properties of de-phenolized protein at the air/water interface and it was reported that functional properties significantly improved after removal of phenolic compounds. Based on the results of this study, de-phenolized sunflower protein isolate was used as the only material for the following studies (Chapters 4-6). During industrial oil processing, using high treatment temperatures for high production efficiencies coupled with applied mechanical forces induce the globular sunflower protein, helianthinin (11S:2S with a ratio of 7:3) to build more compact globules and gain a kind of heat resistance. According to the literature, in order to unfold this "already denaturized" sunflower protein to improve its functional properties, a heat treatment over 90 °C should be applied. Due to the fact that, within the scope of this Ph.D. thesis, a novel "non-thermal moderate electric field treatment" was developed and applied on sunflower proteins. In Chapter 4, sunflower protein was exposed to an electric field with varying voltages for different times below the 45 °C. Since it was the first application of this proposed technique, sodium caseinate, as a widely used and known reference protein, was exposed to the same processing conditions aiming a better understanding for the effects of non-thermal moderate electric field. Proteins were examined in terms of both structural and functional properties after processing. Smaller average particle size, lower interfacial tension at the air/water interface as well as changed secondary and tertiary structures besides different thermal properties were observed. Sunflower protein was successfully unfolded with the proposed method, non-thermally. In Chapter 5, due to the very same reasons and motivations about the unfolding of heat-resistant sunflower protein, another novel, and non-thermal approach was proposed and applied. Microwave treatment as one of the most widely known electromagnetic radiation applications is a thermal processing method however it also has a simultaneous non-thermal effect on samples during processing, whose exact mechanism is still unclear. Due to allowing for processing the sample on "dry basis", it was assumed that the polar amino acids in the protein structure will absorb the electromagnetic energy, enables rotating around the central carbon atom and/or forming free radicals and consequently, inducing the structural changes such as partial unfolding and/or refolding. After processing it was observed that, the polar amino acid ratio of processed protein was changed, particle size decreased, protein's secondary and tertiary structures altered, thermal stability decreased and thermogravimetric losses were obtained. This second proposed non-thermal novel treatment succeeded to induce the sunflower protein for partial unfolding. Following the exposure of sunflower proteins to non-thermal electromagnetic field and observing promising structural alterations, a functional property was decided on and examined in detail in Chapter 6, instead of a general overview covering multiple functional properties. Electromagnetic field application increased the protein solubility and surface hydrophobicity besides more homogenous and stable (1.43 fold) emulsions with smaller droplet size were obtained. Similarly, in that of Chapter 4, sodium caseinate was used as a reference protein and exposed the same treatments to compare particularly emulsification properties. Despite the higher surface tensions at the oil/water interface were observed for sunflower protein samples rather than sodium caseinate, more elastic but less stretchable solid-like protein layers were determined at the interface. Consequently, the proposed application fulfilled the aim of altering the structure of sunflower protein and having the potential to improve its functional properties. Finally, in Chapter 7, based on the data obtained from the previous parts a comprehensive discussion and results about the changing the structure of sunflower protein using proposed novel treatment approaches and their potentials to improve protein's techno-functional properties are presented. Advises for future researches are also provided. The results observed from this Ph.D. thesis were examined under the titles of characterization of sunflower protein, the effect of natural phenolic compounds on protein structure and functional properties, the effect of non-thermal moderate electric field application on protein structure, the effect of non-thermal electromagnetic field application on protein structure and functional properties. Foaming and emulsification were chosen as the functional properties to investigate however, possibilities to change the protein structure were predominantly focused on throughout the whole study.