Characteristics and Absorption Rate of Whey Protein Hydrolysates Prepared Using Flavourzyme after Treatment with Alcalase and Protamex

Yeok Boo Chang, Hyeongyeong Kim, Se Kyung Lee, Hye Jin Kim, A. Hyun Jeong, Hyung Joo Suh, Yejin Ahn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the physicochemical properties of whey protein hydrolysate and determine changes in absorption rate due to enzymatic hydrolysis. The molecular weight distribution analysis of whey protein concentrate (WPC) and low-molecule whey protein hydrolysate (LMWPH) using the Superdex G-75 column revealed that LMWPH is composed of peptides smaller than those in WPC. Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy indicated differences in peak positions between WPC and LMWPH, suggesting hydrolysis-mediated changes in secondary structures. Moreover, LMWPH exhibited higher thermal stability and faster intestinal permeation than WPC. Additionally, oral LMWPH administration increased serum protein content at 20 min, whereas WPC gradually increased serum protein content after 40 min. Although the total amount of WPC and LMWPH absorption was similar, LMWPH absorption rate was higher. Collectively, LMWPH, a hydrolysate of WPC, has distinct physicochemical properties and enhanced absorptive characteristics. Taken together, LMWPH is composed of low-molecular-weight peptides with low antigenicity and has improved absorption compared to WPC. Therefore, LMWPH can be used as a protein source with high bioavailability in the development of functional materials.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7969
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 2023 Dec

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by the authors.


  • absorption
  • Caco-2 cell
  • digestibility
  • hydrolysate
  • whey protein

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmaceutical Science
  • Drug Discovery
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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