Stabizym secures EU patent for ‘safer and more efficient’ liquid transglutaminase

By Katy Askew

- Last updated on GMT

So called 'protein glue' is used to improve texture in meat, dairy, bakery and plant-based foods / pic: GettyImages-YelenaYemchuck
So called 'protein glue' is used to improve texture in meat, dairy, bakery and plant-based foods / pic: GettyImages-YelenaYemchuck

Related tags transglutaminase

German supplier Stabizym, the European arm of Shanghai-based Kinry Food Ingredients, has secured a European patent for the ‘first stable liquid transglutaminase preparation’.

Transglutaminase - sometimes referred to as 'protein glue' - is a microbial enzyme that helps link proteins together by catalysing the formation of isopeptide bonds.

The bonding quality of transglutaminase means it is a useful ingredient for food manufacturers, and it is commonly used to improve the texture of foods by binding different protein sources together. It is widely used in meat, dairy, bakery and plant-based products.

“Unique in its biocatalytic properties, microbial transglutaminase polymerising activity has been exploited in the food industry in various applications for the improvement of technological and functional properties of food, such as restructuring, firmness, texture, elasticity, gelation, viscosity, water holding capacity, foam and emulsion formation and stability​,” Stabizym Managing Director Dr Stefan Marx explained.

Liquid preparation for improved safety

Transglutaminase is approved as a safe enzyme for food use in the European Union and third-party countries including Canada, Brazil, Japan, Korea, China, Thailand and the US, where it has GRAS status.

While the use of transglutaminase has been linked to some health issues – with suggestions, for example, that it could trigger coeliac disease​ - in Europe, it is legally defined as processing aid, rather than a food additive. This means under current EU law transglutaminase does not need to be included on the ingredients list.

Currently, transglutaminase is widely available in powder form. This, Dr Marx explained, carries some risk for food makers. “Industrial enzymes including transglutaminase are proteins and due to their proteinous structure they bear the risk of triggering allergenic reactions in susceptible individuals after inhalation of enzyme dusts,” ​he told FoodNavigator.

“Repeated exposures over time may result in respiratory allergy and due to this risk, enzyme containing food ingredients should be handled and processed in a way that the formation of dust is prevented.”

This means food makers need to implement enzyme dust control programmes to prevent hazards to staff handling and working with enzyme preparations.

Stabizym’s liquid preparation addresses this risk. “Using liquid enzyme preparations instead of enzyme powders is a much more convenient way to reduce plant workers risk for allergenic sensitisation,​” Dr Marx said.

“The patented liquid transglutaminase preparation from Stabizym is a real innovation and offers not only convincing benefits for susceptible workers, but also for the companies as no measures to prevent dust-based cross-contamination within the production facility have to be implemented and also much less efforts for cleaning facilities and equipment are necessary.”

‘Outperforming’ in convenience, efficiency and stability

Stabizym was responsible for the patent application in Europe and will have exclusive permission to sell liquid transglutaminase under the Stabizym brand in the European market. Kinry will take care of patent applications in the rest of the world, including China where a patent was approved in 2018.

On top of improving safety, Dr Marx suggested that the use of liquid transglutaminase provides a number of additional benefits.

“Stabizym TGL products outperform transglutaminase powders in convenience, efficiency and stability,”​ he claimed.

They are ‘ready-to use and easy to dose’ without the need of solubilization.

“Dosing exactly the activity needed for the intended functionality leads to a markedly higher efficiency compared to powders,”​ Dr Marx continued.

Stabizym TGL is ‘very stable’ at room temperature and has not to be stored in tightly sealed packages in the refrigerator to prevent the risk of inactivation of the enzyme by oxygen during storage.

Stabizym TGL products are non-GMO, gluten-free and halal- and kosher certified. The enzyme is available at different specific transglutaminase activities from 100 U/g up to 1.000 U/g and could be delivered in various packaging from 1 kg bottles to 30 kg canisters.

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