Protein hydrolysates show great promise as bioactive food and feed ingredient and for valorization of side-streams from e.g. the fish processing industry. This study characterizes bulk emulsifying, foaming, and in vitro antioxidative properties of hydrolysates derived from cod frame by application of Alcalase and Neutrase, individually and sequentially as well as the influence of heat-treatment prior to hydrolysis. We present a novel approach that utilizes proteomics data for calculation of weighted mean peptide properties (length, molecular weight, and charge) and peptide-level abundance estimation. Using subsequent bioinformatic prediction of biofunctional properties to describe observed bulk properties, we are able to provide an in-depth hydrolysate characterization not previously seen. All hydrolysates displayed comparable or higher emulsifying activity and stability than sodium caseinate. Heat-treatment significantly increased stability but showed a negative effect on the activity and degree of hydrolysis. Combining peptide abundance with predicted emulsifying activity, we were able to identify several peptides that are likely linked to the observed differences in bulk emulsifying properties. In general, decreased hydrolysis resulted in significantly higher chelating activity, while the opposite was observed for radical scavenging activity. The study highlights the prospects of applying proteomics and bioinformatics for hydrolysate characterization and in food protein science.
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