Processed Meat Protein and Heat-Stable Peptide Marker Identification Using Microwave-Assisted Tryptic Digestion


Magdalena Montowska* and Edward Pospiech

Institute of Meat Technology, Poznan University of Life Sciences, Wojska Polskiego 31, PL-60-624 Poznan, Poland

Article history:
Received    November 22, 2015
Accepted   May 20, 2016

Key words:
protein aggregation, thermal denaturation, enzymatic cleavage acceleration, microwave irradiation, mass spectrometry, peptide markers

New approaches to rapid examination of proteins and peptides in complex food matrices are of great interest to the community of food scientists. The aim of the study is to examine the influence of microwave irradiation on the acceleration of enzymatic cleavage and enzymatic digestion of denatured proteins in cooked meat of five species (cattle, horse, pig, chicken and turkey) and processed meat products (coarsely minced, smoked, cooked and semi-dried sausages). Severe protein aggregation occurred not only in heated meat under harsh treatment at 190 °C but also in processed meat products. All the protein aggregates were thoroughly hydrolyzed after 1 h of trypsin treatment with short exposure times of 40 and 20 s to microwave irradiation at 138 and 303 W. There were much more missed cleavage sites observed in all microwave-assisted digestions. Despite the incompleteness of microwave-assisted digestion, six unique peptide markers were detected, which allowed unambiguous identification of processed meat derived from the examined species. Although the microwave-assisted tryptic digestion can serve as a tool for rapid and high-throughput protein identification, great caution and pre-evaluation of individual samples is recommended in protein quantitation.


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