Impact of hydrolyzed whey protein on the molecular interactions and cross-linking density in whey protein isolate-based films
The effect of the amount of hydrolyzed WPI (h-WPI) in WPI-based films on the technofunctional properties and structure of the films has not hitherto been systematically researched. The main objective of this study was therefore to explore the quantitative and qualitative molecular interactions and structures of these films. Different buffer systems were used for the solubility studies to obtain information about the qualitative molecular interactions. Swelling studies were performed to provide qualitative statements about the WPI network. In addition, the cross-linking density (CLD) of the WPI-based films was derived from the swelling tests. The measurements showed that increasing the h-WPI content decreases the CLD significantly. The CLD values of films with 0% and 50% h-WPI content were  molcm−3 and  molcm−3. The study indicates that noncovalent interactions have more influence on barrier properties than the cross-linking density through disulphide bonds. In general, the results of the swelling tests correlated with the solubility studies.