Study Addresses Flavor Issues in Protein Beverages

New to-be-published research by Synergy Flavors Inc. characterized and compared the binding of milk and soy proteins with flavor compounds, which enhances previous research addressing flavor issues in protein beverages.

WAUCONDA, Ill.—New to-be-published research by Synergy Flavors Inc. characterized and compared the binding of milk and soy proteins with flavor compounds, which enhances previous research addressing flavor issues in protein beverages.

Proteins in food matrices interact with flavor compounds and impact the perceived flavor of food products. Previous studies have demonstrated that milk and soy proteins interact with flavor compounds and retain less of the original desirable flavor in foods. Synergy’s study, which was conducted in collaboration with North Carolina State University (NCSU), focused on the sensory analysis and flavor chemistry of various protein sources.

Four different protein sources (two milk protein concentrates [85 percent protein], and two soy protein isolates [90 percent protein], each rehydrated at 10 percent w/v solids) with eight volatile flavor compounds (ethyl butyrate, 2-methylbutyric acid, ethyl pyrazine, vanillin, ethyl maltol, phenylethyl alcohol, diacetyl and hexanal) were analyzed in triplicate. Each compound was added to each rehydrated protein source. Volatile compound analysis (SPME-GC-MS) and descriptive sensory analysis were performed after 0, 24 and 48 hours at 10 degrees Celsius. Percentages of bound volatile compounds were determined based on peak area of volatile compounds in 10-percent protein solutions compared to peak area in water controls.

Ultrafiltration was also applied to confirm protein binding as volatile compounds bound to proteins were retained by ultrafiltration and only unbound volatiles passed into the permeate. Volatile compound analysis and UF demonstrated that milk proteins had the lowest degree of flavor-protein interactions with hexanal, diacetyl, ethyl pyrazine, ethyl butyrate and 2-methylbutyric acid after 48 hour, while soy proteins had the highest (p<0.05). There were no differences (p>0.05) in the degree of protein binding associated with phenylethyl alcohol, vanillin and ethyl maltol between milk and soy proteins. Sensory profile differences between protein sources with and without the addition of flavor compounds were consistent with volatile compound results. Temperature and protein concentration had significant impacts (p<0.05) on flavor compound-protein interactions.

Synergy continues to make advancements in the sports nutrition market through collaboration with its parent company Carbery, a manufacturer of whey protein. An affiliation unique to the industry, Synergy’s flavor knowledge is combined with Carbery’s expertise and 40 years of specialist research in whey protein, concentrates, isolates and hydrolysates, and their use in endurance, strength training and recovery. The collective knowledge and capabilities of both companies provide formulators with an ability to develop nutritional bars, beverages and powders with a balance taste and performance.

Carbery further contributes to advances in protein science through an alliance with Food for Health Ireland (FHI), a consortium of academic and government researchers and major dairy producers in Ireland. Dairy industry leaders working in partnership with FHI take active roles in researching, developing and manufacturing functional ingredients derived from milk to improve health and wellness in the areas of sports nutrition, weight management, healthy aging and infant nutrition.

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