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Identification of Marker Peptides for the Whey Protein Quantification in Edam-Type Cheese

von Oesen, Tobias; Treblin, Mascha; Clawin-Rädecker, Ingrid; Martin, Dierk; Maul, Ronald; Hoffmann, Wolfgang; Schrader, Katrin; Wegner, Benjamin; Bode, Katja; Zink, Ralf; Rohn, Sascha; Fritsche, Jan

Several technologies are available for incorporating whey proteins into a cheese matrix. However, there is no valid analytical method available to determine the whey protein content in matured cheese, to date. Consequently, the aim of the present study was to develop a liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS) method for the quantification of individual whey proteins based on specific marker peptides (‘bottom-up’ proteomic approach). Therefore, the whey protein-enriched model of the Edam-type cheese was produced in a pilot plant and on an industrial scale. Tryptic hydrolysis experiments were performed to evaluate the suitability of identified potential marker peptides (PMPs) for α-lactalbumin (α-LA) and β-lactoglobulin (β-LG). Based on the findings, α-LA and β-LG appeared to be resistant to proteolytic degradation during six weeks of ripening and no influence on the PMP was observed. Good levels of linearity (R2 > 0.9714), repeatability (CVs < 5%), and recovery rate (80% to 120%) were determined for most PMPs. However, absolute quantification with external peptide and protein standards revealed differences in model cheese depending on the PMP, e.g., 0.50% ± 0.02% to 5.31% ± 0.25% for β-LG. As protein spiking prior to hydrolysis revealed differing digestion behavior of whey proteins, further studies are required to enable valid quantification in various cheese types.
Published in: Foods, 10.3390/foods12102002, MDPI