Protein-based biodegradable packaging films are of environmental significance. The effect of oxidized ferulic acid (OFA)/tannic acid (OTA) on the crosslinking and film-forming properties of whey protein isolate (WPI) was investigated. Both of the oxidized acids induced protein oxidation and promoted WPI crosslinking through the actions of quinone carbonyl and protein sulfhydryl, and amino groups. OTA enhanced the tensile strength (from 4.5 MPa to max 6.7 MPa) and stiffness (from 215 MPa to max 376 MPa) of the WPI film, whereas OFA significantly increased the elongation at break. The water absorption capability and heat resistance of the films were greatly improved by the addition of OTA. Due to the original color of OTA, the incorporation of OTA significantly reduced light transmittance of the WPI film (λ 200–600 nm) as well as the transparency, whereas no significant changes were induced by the OFA treatment. Higher concentrations of OTA reduced the in vitro digestibility of the WPI film, while the addition of OFA had no significant effect. Overall, these two oxidized polyphenols promoted the crosslinking of WPI and modified the film properties, with OTA showing an overall stronger efficacy than OFA due to more functional groups available.

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Published in Foods, v. 10, issue 7, 1599.

© 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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The joint effort was supported by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture of the USA (Hatch Project 1020736).

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