Carrageenan impact on digestive proteolysis of meat proteins in meatballs or soluble hydrolyzed collagen

Maayan Ben David, Carmit Shani Levi, Uri Lesmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In a health-conscious age, vivid discussion has been made on the healthfulness of processed foods and food additives. This study focuses on carrageenan (CGN), an approved but debated family of sulphated galactans from algae used as gelling, thickening and stabilizing agents but with indications of possible adverse effects, including as an inhibitor of digestive proteolysis. To challenge this inhibitory hypothesis, food-grade kappa-, iota and lambda-CGN preparations were used to produce beef meatballs whose proteolysis was studied using an in vitro digestion model coupled to various proteomic analyses. Results show that CGN anti-nutritional effects are abolished in beef meatballs. Specifically, proteomic analysis of gastric digesta of myosin light chain 1 (MYL1), alpha skeletal muscle (ACTA1), glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) and fructose-bisphosphate aldolase (ALDOA) reveal no appreciable differences in the profiles of bioaccessible peptides. Separate digestions of a soluble collagen hydrolysate show CGN does inhibit proteolysis of soluble collagen, therefore supporting the notion that the meat matrix confers a shielding effect that eliminates CGN ability to interfere with digestive proteolysis. Thus, this work shows that CGN ability to hinder digestive proteolysis may not apply to all foods and contributes evidence important to the discussions on CGN uses, indications and regulatory status.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113560
JournalFood Research International
StatePublished - Dec 2023


  • Bioaccessible peptides
  • Carrageenan
  • Digestive proteolysis
  • Food matrix
  • In vitro digestion
  • Meat products

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science


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