Effects of tea saponin on the foaming properties of pea protein†
Plant proteins are becoming increasingly important for foam formation as an alternative to animal proteins. Consumers, however, are unsatisfied with the foaming properties of pea protein isolates. Recent research on proteins and surfactants has primarily concentrated on chemically synthesized surfactants. In this study, foams were prepared by complexing pea protein isolates with a natural small molecule surfactant tea saponin. This study investigates the mechanisms responsible for the formation and stability of foams prepared from pea protein isolates (PPIs) complexed with tea saponins. Analyses of foaming performance were carried out by analyzing the morphology of foam, foaming properties, foam's rheological properties, and the microstructure of the pea protein-tea saponin complex system. Compared to the pea protein isolate alone, the pea protein-tea saponin complex significantly improved foaming capacity and foaming stability. As shown by light microscopy analysis, the size of the foam decreased and became more homogeneous, probably because of the altered aggregate state of the protein. In this study, natural surfactants and mixtures of plant proteins are studied in order to better understand their properties. The mixed system has excellent prospects for application in the industries related to foam.