ACTIWHEY® - Technology & Development

Uniq Bioresearch Ltd. has developed and patented a process to activate (modify) and fractionate whey proteins into soluble and non soluble protein fractions. Our activation method improves functional properties of whey protein which enables creating additive free emulsions and gels, microcapsules and even clear protein films. The activation also improves the digestibility and hydrolysability of whey protein, rendering a value added ingredient for food industry as well as a natural raw material for a new microencapsulating technology.

WHEY PROTEIN

Whey, a by-product of cheese production, is an ideal source of protein, the value of which is widely recognized today. Whey proteins have distinct advantages to offer. Structurally whey proteins are globulins, nutritionally one of the best existing proteins. Whey protein is rich in sulphur-containing amino acids as well as tryptophan and the branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) valine, leucine and isoleucine. Its composition makes whey protein a valuable nutraceutical ingredient in food industry.

PATENTED TECHNOLOGY

In our patented modification process, the protein structure is activated by the cleavage of disulphide bonds to free sulfhydryl (SH-) groups. The protein composition remains the same after modification, but 15-30 % of the disulphide bonds in protein molecules are cleaved into SH groups. The degree of modification determines the number of SH groups available for interchange and other beneficial reactions where SH groups are involved.
The activated whey protein is called ACTIWHEY®, which is the registered trademark of Uniq Bioresearch Oy Ltd.

FUNCTIONALITY THROUGH FREE SH GROUPS

The activated protein molecules contain two to four free SH groups while unmodified whey proteins on average have less than one. SH-groups are known to improve the safety of food as well as to contribute positively to human metabolism due to their high antioxidative capacity, and their role in the detoxification processes and in preventing the formation of harmful compounds in food processing.

ANTIOXIDATIVITY AND DETOXIFICATION

SH groups of ACTIWHEY® support the detoxification processes because they can act as nitrite traps and play a role in metal chelation. They are also known to conjugate and detoxify xenobiotics and to quench potentially toxic free radicals by forming soluble and inactive derivatives. These can then be eliminated more readily by the kidneys than the parent compounds. Microbial and plant toxins containing disulphide bonds can be inactivated by interchange reaction with SH-groups. SH groups act to detoxify aflatoxins found in mould contaminated grain as well as acrylamide or -nitrile.

PRESERVES NUTRITIVE VALUE

SH groups contribute to the preservation of nutritive value of food during processing. They act to prevent the formation of the harmful Amadori compound that is one of the Maillard reaction compounds. SH groups also help to prevent the formation of lysinoalanine by reacting with the double bond of dehydroalanine. These reactions are known to have negative effects, e.g. lysine, an essential amino acid, is lost in these reactions.

EXAMPLES OF DIFFERENT PROPERTIES ACHIEVED WITH FREE SH GROUPS:

  • Foam creation
  • Gel formation
  • Emulsifying properties
  • Polymerization (by interchange reaction)
  • Good heat and moisture resistance
  • Extending shelf life
  • Effective Antioxidant
  • Prevents non-enzymatic and enzymatic browning
  • Prevents the formation of Maillard’s reaction compounds
  • Open SH groups form covalent bonds that improve polymerization and capsule stability
  • -S-S- covalent bonds are strong and durable
  • Health benefits
  • Effective antioxidant
  • Neutralizes acetaldehyde
  • Chelates heavy metals, traps nitrates
  • Detoxifies aflatoxins and acrylamide
  • Prevents the formation of amadori compound

MICROENCAPSULATION

Polyunsaturated lipids (e.g. omega 3 oils) and oils in general are known to be sensitive to heat, light, and exposure to oxygen. A rancid oil has an unpleasant smell and taste and it might be even harmful to your health.

To protect your precious oils you should keep them in a cool, dry and dark place or microencapsulate them. When you microencapsulate oil it becomes a powder that is easy to manipulate, generally odorless and you can control the flavor of it. Through this process the oil’s shelf-life can be prolonged up to 10 times.
Imagine a vanilla flavoured powder that is made of more than 55% essential omega 3 oil and the remaining part is nutritious whey protein. It couldn’t get healthier than this.

IMPROVED STABILITY WITH ACTIWHEY® TECHNOLOGY

There are many ways and coating materials to microencapsulate substances and all of them have different properties. The most common coatings available on the market includes ethyl cellulose, poly vinyl alcohol, gelatine and sodium alginate and various starches.
To get the most value out of your microcapsules you should make sure that it has as much of your ingredient in it as possible and that the coating is also beneficial and not harmful for your health and end product.
With our patented ACTIWHEY® technology you can achieve thin and flexible but very stabile whey protein coating.