Use of transglutaminases in foods and potential utilization of plants as a transglutaminase source – Review


  • Fernando Bittencourt Luciano Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná
  • Susan Arntfield Univeristy of Manitoba



Food texture, Molecular farming, Protein cross-link, Transglutaminase


Transglutaminases (TGases) are enzymes able to catalyze acyl-transfer reactions introducing covalent cross-links between proteins, peptides and primary amines. Animal TGases were the first studied and are divided in nine different groups of isoenzymes. They have a wide range of functions in the metabolism of most animal cells, and share the characteristic of being Ca2+-dependent. Microbial and plant TGases were also identified, and there is a vast heterogeneity among their amino acid sequences. Interestingly, it seems that all transglutaminases share a specific amino acid triad of Cys-His-Asp in their catalytic site, which can be found in all tertiary structures of the enzymes yet studied so far. Microbial TGases are the most widely used for food modification due to lower costs and high yields involved with their extraction and purification when compared to mammal sources. TGases are ubiquitously found in a variety of plants, and their utilization for food transformation has been proposed. However, there is only a single attempt using vegetal TGase in food systems, where apple pomace was used to improve the quality of pork meat. The transference of mammalian TGase genes to plants has also been considered and they were found to be successfully expressed in rice and tobacco leaves. These results lead to a new approach, where TGases could be literally farmed for food utilization.

Biografia do Autor

Fernando Bittencourt Luciano, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná

Possui graduação em Farmácia e Bioquímica de Alimentos pela Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (2004) e doutorado em Food and Nutritional Sciences - University of Manitoba (2010). Trabalhou no Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada e atualmente é Professor do Mestrado em Ciência Animal da PUC-PR. Tem experiência na área de Ciência e Tecnologia de Alimentos, com ênfase em Microbiologia de Alimentos e Tecnologia de Carnes. Possui 15 premiações internacionais, entre elas o de Top-10 teses de doutorado mais inovadoras do Canadá, o que lhe gerou um produto tecnológico patenteado nos Estados Unidos.

Susan Arntfield, Univeristy of Manitoba

Department of Food Science, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Science

Áreas: Química de Alimentos, Proteínas de Alimentos, Reologia, Leguminosas.