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Protein oxidation in processed meat: Mechanisms and potential implications on human health

Soladoye, O.P., Juárez, M.L., Aalhus, J.L., Shand, P., Estévez, M. (2015). Protein oxidation in processed meat: Mechanisms and potential implications on human health, 14(2), 106-122.


© 2014 Institute of Food Technologists®. Processed meats represent a large percentage of muscle foods consumed in the western world. Various processing steps affect the physicochemical properties of the meat, compromise its nutritional components, or produce some compounds that are of health concern. Hence, the impact of oxidation on human health and the aging process and the influence of diet on these harmful reactions are of growing interest. Past decades have seen more focus on lipid oxidation, microbial deterioration, and pathogenicity, as well as production of carcinogenic compounds during meat processing. The oxidation of protein, which is a major component in meat systems, has received less attention. Protein oxidation has been defined as a covalent modification of protein induced either directly by reactive species or indirectly by reaction with secondary by-products of oxidative stress. Not only are these modifications critical for technological and sensory properties of muscle foods, they may have implications on human health and safety when consumed. Cooking, for example, has been observed to increase free radical generation while it also decreases the antioxidant protection systems in meat, both of which contribute to protein oxidation. Many other meat processing techniques, as well as other emerging technologies, may significantly affect protein oxidation and protein overall quality. This paper explores the current understanding of meat processing techniques and their possible effects on the status of protein oxidation and nutritional value, as well as their possible implications on human health.

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