Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Nutrition, Dietetics, and Food Sciences


Donald J. McMahon


Linda Powers

Third Advisor:

Rodney J. Brown


This research investigates the protein interactions that occur when soy protein is added to milk and subjected to renneting or heating. Milk was fortified with 20% soy protein and enzymic coagulation studied at 35°C at various pH's and CaCl2 levels. The first part deals with the interaction between milk and soy proteins during rennet-induced milk coagulation. The first goal was to determine how soy proteins affected milk coagulation. The effects of native versus heat-denatured soy proteins on rennet coagulation time and curd firmness were compared. lmmunogold labeling along with transmission electron microscopy was used to identify and localfze soy proteins in coagulated milk. Partitioning of ß-conglycinin and glycinin, the two main soy protein fractions, between cheese and whey was determined by electrophoresis.

Soy proteins affected milk coagulation to the greatest extent at pH 6.6. Both heat-denatured and native soy proteins increased rennet coagulation time. Only heat-denatured soy proteins affected final curd firmness. Most of ß-conglycinin was lost in whey, whereas glycinin was retained in curd.

Soy proteins existed in the curd as aggregates that were less electron dense than casein micelles. At pH 6.6, heat-denatured soy proteins were fibrous and adhered to the surfaces of casein micelle, preventing direct micelle-micelle contact. This would delay aggregation rate and decrease curd firmness by decreasing the number and strength of links between casein micelles. Native soy proteins did not bind to the casein micelles but rather were physically trapped within curd. Their effect of delaying aggregation is thought to be a function of their binding of calcium. Adding CaCl2 or lowering the pH to 6.3 or 6.0 helped restore coagulation properties.

The second goal was to determine what heat-induced interaction occurs between milk and soy proteins, specifically between κ-casein and glycinin. Both κ-casein and glycinin are heat labile and form insoluble aggregates when heated. When glycinin and κ-casein were heated together, some acidic polypeptides of glycinin crosslinked with κ-casein via disulfide linkages. However, when disulfide linkage was prevented by adding ß-mercaptoethanol , non-covalent interactions between κ-casein and both acidic and basic polypeptides of glycinin occurred that prevented the heat precipitation of glycinin. This non-covalent interaction between glycinin polypeptides and κ-casein may explain why the heat-treated soy proteins became attached to the surfaces of casein micelles during rennet coagulation of milk.