Journal of Food Science and Technology

, Volume 55, Issue 10, pp 4051–4058 | Cite as

Interactions between whey protein and inulin in a model system

  • Mingruo Guo
  • Hao Wang
  • Cuina WangEmail author
Original Article


Inulin is a commonly used prebiotic ingredients for functional food formulation. The effect of inulin on the gelation properties of whey protein was investigated using whey protein and inulin (WP/inulin) and polymerized whey protein and inulin (PWP/inulin) mixtures at different levels of protein (4–8%, w/v) and inulin (1–5%, w/v). WP/inulin mixture was prepared by heating protein and inulin together while the latter by heating protein alone and then mixed with inulin. Both mixtures were analyzed for turbidity, zeta potential, particle size, and rheological properties. Dispersions became more opaque with increasing protein but there was no significant difference between the two mixtures. A small shift towards larger size and significantly decreased negative zeta potential with increasing inulin addition (1–5%) were observed for both mixtures. WP/PWP and inulin mixtures exhibited a shear thinning behavior. Transition temperature of whey protein increased with inulin addition. WP/PWP and inulin mixtures were induced into cold-set gels by calcium and the gels were analyzed for hardness. Hardness of WP/PWP and inulin gels increased with the increasing inulin. Results indicated that interactions between whey protein and inulin had impact on the gelation properties of whey protein regardless the way inulin added.


Whey protein Polymerized whey protein Inulin Gelation property 



Whey protein


Polymerized whey protein


Whey protein isolates


Optical density


Isoelectric point


Texture profile analysis




Calcium chloride


One-way analysis of variance


Least squared differences



The financial support for this project was provided by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (Project #2013BAD18B07).


  1. Akalın AS, Karagözlü C, Ünal G (2013) Rheological properties of reduced-fat and low-fat ice cream containing whey protein isolate and inulin. Eur Food Res Technol 227:889–895CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barbut S (1995) Effects of calcium level on the structure of pre-heated whey protein isolate gels. LWT-Food Sci Technol 28:598–603CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bot A, Erle U, Vreeker R, Agterof WGM (2004) Influence of crystallisation conditions on the large deformation rheology of inulin gels. Food Hydrocoll 18:547–556CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bourbon AI, Pinheiro AC, Cerqueira MA, Vicente AA (2016) Influence of chitosan coating on protein-based nanohydrogels properties and in vitro gastric digestibility. Food Hydrocoll 60:109–118CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bryant CM, McClements DJ (1999) Ultrasonic spectrometry study of the influence of temperature on whey protein aggregation. Food Hydrocoll 13:439–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Çelebioğlu HY, Gudjónsdóttir M, Chronakis IS, Seunghwan L (2016) Investigation of the interaction between mucins and β-lactoglobulin under tribological stress. Food Hydrocoll 54:57–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Chen LY, Subirade M (2005) Chitosan/beta-lactoglobulin core-shell nanoparticles as nutraceutical carriers. Biomaterials 26:6041–6053CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  8. Davidson MH, Maki KC, Synecki C (1998) Effects of dietary inulin on serum lipids in men and women with hypercholesterolemia. Nutr Res 18:503–517CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. del Mar Contreras M, Hernández-Ledesma B, Amigo L, Martin-Álvarez PJ, Recio I (2011) Production of antioxidant hydrolyzates from a whey protein concentrate with thermolysin: optimization by response surface methodology. LWT-Food Sci Technol 44:9–15CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Eissa AS, Khan SA (2006) Modulation of hydrophobic interactions in denatured whey proteins by transglutaminase enzyme. Food Hydrocoll 20:543–547CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Gibson GR, Roberfroid MB (1995) Dietary modulation of the human colonic microbiota: introducing the concept of prebiotics. J Nutr 125:1401–1412PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Glibowski P (2009) Rheological properties and structure of inulin-whey protein gels. Int Dairy J 19:443–449CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Glibowski P (2010) Effect of α-lactalbumin and β-lactoglobulin on inulin gelation. Milchwissenschaft 65:127–131Google Scholar
  14. Gonzaleztomás L, Collmarqués J, Costell E (2008) Viscoelasticity of inulin–starch-based dairy systems. Influence of inulin average chain length. Food Hydrocoll 22:1372–1380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Ha HK, Jeon NE, Kim JW, Han KS, Yun SS, Lee MR, Lee WJ (2016) Physicochemical characterization and potential prebiotic effect of whey protein isolate/inulin nano complex. Korean J Food Sci Anim 36:267–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Herceg Z, Režek A, Lelas V, Krešić G, Franetović M (2007) Effect of carbohydrates on the emulsifying, foaming and freezing properties of whey protein suspensions. J Food Eng 1:279–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Hongsprabhas P, Barbut S (1997a) Effect of gelation temperature on Ca2+-induced gelation by whey protein isolate. LWT-Food Sci Technol 30:45–49CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hongsprabhas P, Barbut S (1997b) Structure-forming processes in Ca2+-induced whey protein isolate cold gelation. Int Dairy J 7:827–834CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Line VLS, Remondetto GE, Subirade M (2005) Cold gelation of β-lactoglobulin oil-in-water emulsions. Food Hydrocoll 19:269–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Meyer D, Bayarri S, Tárrega A, Costell E (2011) Inulin as texture modifier in dairy products. Food Hydrocoll 25:1881–1890CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ryan KN, Vardhanabhuti B, Jaramillo DP, Van Zanten JH, Coupland JN, Foegeding EA (2012) Stability and mechanism of whey protein soluble aggregates thermally treated with salts. Food Hydrocoll 27:411–420CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Sağlam D, Venema P, Vries RD, Shi J, Linden EVD (2013) Concentrated whey protein particle dispersions: heat stability and rheological properties. Food Hydrocoll 30:100–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Staffolo MD, Bertola N, Martino M, Bevilacqua YA (2004) Influence of dietary fiber addition on sensory and rheological properties of yogurt. Int Dairy J 14:263–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Sun WW, Yu SJ, Yang XQ, Wang JM, Zhang JB, Zhang Y, Zheng EL (2012) Study on the rheological properties of heat-induced whey protein isolate–dextran conjugate gel. Food Res Int 44:3259–3263CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Tavares C, Monteiro SR, Moreno N, da Silva JAL (2005) Does the branching degree of galactomannans influence their effect on whey protein gelation? Colloid Surf A 270:213–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Tobin JT, Fitzsimons SM, Kelly AL, Kelly PM, Auty MAE, Fenelon MA (2010) Microparticulation of mixtures of whey protein and inulin. Int J Dairy Technol 63:32–40CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Tseng YC, Xiong YL (2009) Effect of inulin on the rheological properties of silken tofu coagulated with glucono-d-lactone. J Food Eng 90:511–516CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Tseng YC, Xiong YL, Yang FQ (2009) Influence of inulin/oligofructose on the acid-induced cold aggregation and gelation of preheated soy proteins. J Sci Food Agric 89:2650–2658CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Turgeon SL, Beaulieu M (2001) Improvement and modification of whey protein gel texture using polysaccharides. Food Hydrocoll 15:583–591CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Van LJ (2007) How chicory fructans contribute to zootechnical performance and well-being in livestock and companion animals. J Nutr 137:2594S–2597SCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Van Camp J, Messens W, Clément J, Huyghebaert A (1997) Influence of pH and sodium chloride on the high pressure-induced gel formation of a whey protein concentrates. Food Chem 60:417–424Google Scholar
  32. Vardhanabhuti B, Foegeding EA, McGuffy MK, Daubert CR, Swaisgood HE (2001) Gelation properties of dispersions containing polymerized and native whey protein isolate. Food Hydrocoll 15:165–175CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Villegas B, Costell E (2007) Flow behaviour of inulin–milk beverages. Influence of inulin average chain length and of milk fat content. Int Dairy J 17:776–781CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Zhang S, Hsieh FH, Vardhanabhuti B (2014) Acid-induced gelation properties of heated whey protein–pectin soluble complex (part I): effect of initial pH. Food Hydrocoll 36:76–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Association of Food Scientists & Technologists (India) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Food Science, College of Food Science and EngineeringJilin UniversityChangchunChina
  2. 2.Department of Nutrition and Food Sciences, College of Agriculture and Life SciencesUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations