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Improving the health quality of fried falafel (Middle Eastern food) by using transglutaminase and/or pectin coating
1, 2 , 1 , 1 , * 1
1  Department of Chemical Sciences, University of Naples “Federico II”, 80126 Naples, Italy
2  Analysis, Poison control and Calibration Center (APCC), An-Najah National University, P.O. Box 7, Nablus, Palestine


The most disadvantage of the fried falafel balls are the highest level of acrylamide formed during Maillard reaction. Falafel balls are one of the largest deep fat frying fast food in the Middle East made basically of chickpeas. The main aim of this study was to investigate the effect of adding transglutaminase (TG, E.C. to the falafel dough followed or not by dipping into pectin (PEC 1%) coating solution. Acrylamide, oil and water content of the fried falafel balls treated or not by TG (5 or 20U/g of chickpea proteins) and coated or not with PEC-containing film forming solutions were evaluated. In addition, the texture profile analyses were carried out. We observed, by TOF LC/MS, that the acrylamide content was reduced, compared to control sample, by 10.8% and 34.4% in the samples set up by adding 5 and 20 U TG/g respectively. In PEC-coated samples, acrylamide reduction was about by 59%, 65.3% and 84.5%, in falafel balls prepared either without of TG or containing 5U or 20 U of the enzyme, respectively, suggesting that TG-mediated crosslinks increase the water content inside the falafel balls, thus, reducing the rate of Maillard reaction. However, TG treatment does not affect oil content, while the PEC coating reduces the oil uptake about 23.5%. Finally, no difference was observed between the control sample and the one dipped in PEC regarding their texture properties hardness, chewiness and gumminess, while these properties were influenced in samples set up in the presence of the enzyme.

Keywords: edible coating, transglutaminase, pectin, acrylamide
Comments on this paper
Interesting research

Loredana Mariniello
enthusism for webconferences !
Very proud of having "attending" to this webconference, an innovative way to share scientific information with one my top research topics !

Mohammed Sabbah
great work
Very interesting results.
good work.

MariaCristina Tanzi
Extending apllicability
The methodology described is very interesting and, considering the good results, it could be applied to a wide choice of fried foods, improving their digestibility and safety

Silvia Fare'
congratulation for the original results here presented.
I have a curiosity. What about a possible degradation of TG and PECT during cooking?
Concetta Valeria Lucia Giosafatto
Thank you very much for your interest. TG is already used as a processing aid in many protein-based food products to improve the structure of the matrix. Anyway it is safe and following the cooking it is not active anymore.
As far as pectins they act as food protection since they allow to reduce the oil content and acrylamide formation in many deep fried foods as described widely in the litterature. However, they might be degraded following the cooking without any health concern.