Mesoporous silica particles and macrocyclic ligands as modulators of polyphenol oxidase activity in food systems

  1. Sara Muñoz Pina
Supervised by:
  1. Ana María Andrés Grau Director
  2. Jose Vicente Ros-Lis Director
  3. Ángel Luis Argüelles Foix Director

Defence university: Universitat Politècnica de València

Year of defence: 2021

  1. José Ángel Pérez Alvarez Chair
  2. Ana Fuentes López Secretary
  3. Juan Antonio Tamayo Ramos Committee member

Type: Thesis


The browning of injured fruit and vegetable tissues can cause undesirable changes and consumers' rejection resulting in high economic losses and food waste. This damage, known as enzymatic browning, is mainly caused by the polyphenol oxidase enzyme (PPO) which oxidize the phenolic compounds found in these tissues into reddish pigments named melanonids. Thus, preventing PPO activity in post-harvest processing fruits and vegetables including their juices has received a lot of attention from the food industry. Nonetheless, the current alternatives have some drawbacks such as negative effects on the nutritional quality of products or high cost. Hence, the purpose of this doctoral thesis is focused on the development and evaluation of new non-thermal strategies for PPO inhibition and prevention of the enzymatic browning. For this purpose, two different strategies were addressed; On one hand, several macrocyclic polyamine compounds were selected and evaluated. The chemical structure was found to strongly influence the inhibitor power, and two different compounds were found to be efficient against the enzymatic browning with IC50 of 10 µM and 0.30 mM. Their effectiveness was proved in cloudy apple juice resulting in a delay of the enzymatic browning and the loss of total phenolic compounds. On the other hand, the development and application of mesoporous silica particles functionalized with diverse chemical groups were studied. The results showed that both the structure of the material and the type of functionalization are decisive. The UVM-7 support offered the strongest inhibition of the PPO. The functionalisation with thiol groups enhanced the inhibitor power stopping the enzymatic browning in cloudy apple juice. Alternatively, amine groups, although showing less inhibitory power, were able to immobilise the enzyme. Finally, the UVM-7 support was magnetized for easily elimination of the medium, thus preventing the juice filtration need. Cloudy apple juice treated with magnetized UVM-7 functionalized with tiol groups maintained the initial concentration of both vitamin C and flavonoids. Moreover, the antioxidant capacity and the total phenolic content remained almost unchanged.