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Research Call

DAFM Reference


DAFM Award

DAFM National Call 2013 13F454 Teagasc (UCD) €591,509

Project Title:

Beverage formulation/reformulation targeted at older population using in vitro assay to design whey protein structure for optimum glutathione (GSH) generation and increased antioxidant potential

Project Coordinator:

Dr Phil Kelly

Project Abstract

Generally, milk proteins are viewed as a rich source of biologically active components. However in certain instances, the protein itself may be a proactive ‘donor’ to promote in vivo generation of a biologically active compound during cellular synthesis from its metabolic products. Glutathione (GSH) is a tripeptide present in whey proteins that is understood to be transported poorly into cells. More importantly, the tripeptide is also generated intracellularly from whey protein donor groups to function as an antioxidant that counters cell toxicity and ultimately neuro-degenerative type disorders particularly prevalent among ageing populations. Thus, there is a need for a much better scientific understanding of how whey proteins may be functionalised in order to arrest the decline in in vivo GSH production with increasing age. Thus, the experimental study will employ an in vitro cell line based-assay to monitor GSH production following exposure of cells to whey protein containing substrates. The pilot scale preparation of these whey proteins will be designed with view to constructing a picture of how their physico-chemical adaptations can be linked to the promotion of GSH formation. These experimental preparations will also afford an opportunity to prepare peptide fractions containing elevated levels of whey GSH in order to ascertain whether naturally present GSH may be transported across cells. Peptide fractions selected according to iron binding ability will also be included since high physiological levels of GSH are meant to insulate its cytosolic function in iron metabolism from variations of Fe concentration during redox stresses. Potential synergies between marine and plant-based antioxidants to promote GSH formation will also be explored. Ultimately, it is intended to formulate a model beverage targeted at adult populations using functionalised whey proteins in formulations with a capacity to potentiate overall antioxidant bioactivity and specifically GSH.

Final Report:

Not available yet.