PhD defence

Heat-induced structural modifications of plant proteins: implications for peptide pattern and bioactivity after infant digestion

PhD candidate J (Jiaying) Tang MSc
Promotor KA (Kasper) Hettinga
prof.dr. HJ (Harry) Wichers
Organisation Wageningen University, Food Quality and Design

Tue 6 February 2024 11:00 to 12:30

Venue Omnia, building number 105
Hoge Steeg 2
6708 PH Wageningen
+31 (0) 317 - 484500
Room Auditorium


Plant proteins are promising dairy alternatives for infant formula, yet a comprehensive evaluation of their suitability is still needed. Proteins are always heat-treated to produce powdered infant formula. This may lead to structural modifications (including glycation and non-glycation modifications), potentially affecting the protein digestibility and the bioactivity of the digesta. Especially for plant proteins in the context of infant digestion, an in-depth integrated analysis of the interrelationships of these aspects has yet to be performed. This research aimed to fill this gap by investigating how heat processing of plant proteins, with a focus on structural modifications, impacts infant digestion and peptide formation. This study also explored the residual immunogenicity and bioactivity of resulting peptides using both bioinformatics and experimental approaches.

The insights gained from this research contribute valuable knowledge for selecting plant proteins and optimizing heat processing in the development of functional plant-based infant formula.