Molecular properties of plant protein derived peptides
Food derived bioactive peptides have demonstrated a range of health promoting properties and are therefore considered to have great potential for the development of functional food or other nutraceutical products. Bioactivity mainly refers to antihypertensive, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic and antioxidant properties which are relevant to many disease pathologies such as obesity, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and cancer. Data referring to bioactive peptides from milk, egg and fish are available, yet in view of the massively increasing demand and interest for alternative protein sources, systematic research into the importance of plant protein and their hydrolysis products is warranted.
For this studentship, we suggest to screen a range of plant protein from different sources such as legumes, grains and oil seed plants, using an in silico approach to predict frequency and potency of bioactive peptide formation during intestinal digestion. Bioactivity assays in vitro in combination with tissue culture experiments will be performed to verify the predictions and to investigate the molecular mechanisms of action alongside with the identification of specific bioactive peptides.
The proposed studentship is part of a larger initiative within the School to explore the functional properties of plant proteins and peptides derived from different sources (as alternatives to animal protein) and their potential as food and functional ingredients in food (or even non-foods), for example as novel surface active and gelling materials. Hence, the present project incorporates skills and expertise from the three research groups within the School (Food Colloids & Processing, Food Biochemistry, Nutrition & Public Health) in an inter-disciplinary and collaborative approach.