Application of a novel antifreeze-protein from marine resources (diatoms) in frozen dough pieces

Funding: IGF project, funded by BMWi and AiF via FEI
Project Duration: 01.10.2011-31.03.2014
Project Manager: Julien Huen
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Application of a novel antifreeze-protein from marine resources (diatoms) in frozen dough pieces

The demand for frozen dough pieces and bakery products is great. Even on sundays customers want to consume freshly baked, high-quality rolls. By means of freezing of dough pieces and bakery products it is possible to provide variegated fresh goods at any time. Supermarkets offer frozen bakery products or bread rolls prepared in bake-off stations, delivered to the markets as frozen dough pieces. Bakeries are able to produce on supply, as due to the processing of great amounts of dough at one time followed by deep freezing, such that the required dough pieces can be fetched from the freezer when needed.

The freezing of bakery goods is a highly complicated process that involves significant decline in product quality, like volume depletion and crumb damage. These effects are mainly due to gluten damage and yeast dying caused by ice crystals. Compared to fresh dough pieces, volume depletion of up to 20% is observed after freezing. Moreover, the production of frozen bakery goods is cost-intensive, since products have to be deep frozen and stored at low temperatures to minimize quality losses. We look for possibilities to control the development of ice in dough applying antifreeze proteins (AFP), to avoid gluten damage and yeast mortality and make the production more convenient by increasing the working temperature. Several polar and cold-tolerant animals, plants and microorganisms have AFP, which inhibit the recrystallisation of ice and lower the freezing point of water. The discovery and isolation by the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) of an AFP gene from a sea ice diatom, Fragilariopsis cylindrus (called here fcAFP), provides the possibility to make an efficient AFP available to the industry.

The objective of this project is the improvement of the quality of frozen dough pieces. Understanding the basic mechanisms of fcAFP activity will enable us to control crystallization and inhibit recrystallization. The recombinant fcAFP will be isolated in a cost and time saving manner and the results will be transferred to frozen dough pieces.