Covalent Bonding of Chlorogenic Acid Induces Structural Modifications on Sunflower Proteins

D. Karefyllakis, Stavroula Salakou, J.H. Bitter, A.J. van der Goot, K. Nikiforidis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


Proteins and phenols coexist in the confined space of plant cells leading to reactions between them, which result in new covalently bonded complex molecules. This kind of reactions has been widely observed during storage and processing of plant materials. However, the nature of the new complex molecules and their physicochemical properties are largely unknown. Therefore, we investigated the structural characteristics of covalently bonded complexes between sunflower protein isolate (SFPI, protein content 85 wt %) and the dominant phenol in the confined space of a sunflower seed cell (chlorogenic acid, CGA). It was shown that the efficiency of bond formation goes through a maximum as a function of the SFPI:CGA ratio. Moreover, the bonding of CGA with proteins resulted in changes in the secondary and tertiary structure of the protein. It was also shown that the phenol bound strongly to the protein, which resulted in new crosslinks between the polypeptide chains. As a result, secondary structures like α-helices and β-sheets diminished, which in turn resulted in more disordered domains and a subsequent modification of the tertiary structure of the proteins. These findings are relevant for establishing future protocols for extraction of high-quality proteins and phenols when utilizing plant material and offer insight into the impact of processing that these ingredients endure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)459-468
Issue number4
Early online date24 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 19 Feb 2018


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