Digestive fate of milk and egg-derived amyloids: Attenuated digestive proteolysis and impact on the trajectory of the gut microbiota

Gil Refael, Yizhaq Engelberg, Alon Romano, Gabriela Amiram, Eilon Barnea, Carmit Shani Levi, Sondra Turjeman, Meytal Landau, Omry Koren, Uri Lesmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In an era in which protein consumption is enthusiastically advocated, this work explored the possible formation of proteinaceous amyloids in foods and their unchartered digestive fate. Evidence herein corroborates processing induces formation of amyloid-like architectures from β-lactoglobulin or ovalbumin. Such supramolecular assemblies exhibit attenuated susceptibility to gastric and intestinal proteolysis and may persist into the colon as confirmed by SDS-PAGE, LCMS, ThT analysis and TEM imaging. Human fecal fermentations of fibrils or their native protein counterparts establish that fibrilization helps maintain microbial diversity, low Firmicutes/Bacteroidetes ratio (Av. F/B ratio<3.00) and protect the butyrate producing genera Roseburia and Clostridium. In addition, fibrilization increased the minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) of ovalbumin by at least two orders of magnitude without altering its negligible cytotoxicity. Further, In silico analyses support that both fibrils divert predicted microbiota metabolic trajectories towards those observed in fermentation of prebiotics. Thus, this work provides reassuring evidence against possible adverse effects of fibrilization of edible proteins. Yet, human trials with processed foods should be warranted to clinically affirm these findings.

Original languageEnglish
Article number109820
JournalFood Hydrocolloids
StatePublished - Jun 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 Elsevier Ltd


The authors would like to acknowledge the funding of the Israel Science Foundation grant 1749/22 and the Russel Berrie Nano-technology Institute at the Technion. Great gratitude to Dana Binyamin from Koren lab in Azrieli Faculty of Medicine ( Bar Ilan University ) for her assistance with the in silico analyses and her expert knowledge on the QIIME platform. In addition, authors would like to acknowledge the technical and scientific support of the staff at the Smoler Proteomics Center at the Technion.

FundersFunder number
Israel Science Foundation1749/22
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology


    • Amyloid fibrils
    • Anaerobic colonic fermentation
    • Dairy protein
    • Egg white protein
    • Gut microbiota
    • In vitro digestion


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