Influence of the overall charge and local charge density of pectin on the complex formation between pectin and beta-lactoglobulin

Bram L. H. M. Sperber, Henk A. Schols, Martien A. Cohen Stuart, Willem Norde, Alphons G. J. Voragen*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    87 Citations (Scopus)


    The complex formation between beta-lactoglobulin (beta-lg) and pectin is studied using pectins with different physicochemical characteristics. Pectin allows for the control of both the overall charge by degree of methyl-esterification as well as local charge density by the degree of blockiness. Varying local charge density, at equal overall charge is a parameter that is not available for synthetic polymers and is of key importance in the complex formation between oppositely charged (bio)polymers. LMP is a pectin with a high overall charge and high local charge density; HMPB arid HMPR are pectins with a low overall charge, but a high and low local charge density, respectively. Dynamic light scattering (DLS) titrations identified pH(c), the pH where soluble complexes of beta-lg and pectin are formed and pH phi, the PH of phase separation, both as a function of ionic strength. pH(c) decreased with increasing ionic strength for all pectins and was used in a theoretical model that showed local charge density of the pectin to control the onset of complex formation. pH phi passed through a maximum with increasing ionic strength for LMP because of shielding of repulsive interactions between beta-lg molecules bound to LMP, while attractive interactions were repressed at higher ionic strength. Potentiometric titrations of homo-molecular solutions and mixtures of beta-lg and pectin showed charge regulation in beta-lg-pectin complexes. Around pH 5.5-5.0 the pK(a)s of beta-lg ionic groups are increased to induce positive charge on the beta-lg molecule; around pH 4.5-3.5 the pK(a) values of the pectin ionic groups are lowered to retain negative charge on the pectin. Since pectins with high local charge density form complexes with beta-lg at higher ionic strength than pectins with low local charge density, pectin with a high local charge density is preferred in food systems where complex formation between protein and pectin is desired. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)765-772
    Number of pages8
    JournalFood hydrocolloids
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - May-2009


    • Pectin
    • beta-Lactoglobulin
    • Polysaccharide-protein complexes
    • State diagrams
    • Electrostatic interactions
    • Charge regulation
    • ACID

    Cite this