Meat Glue

A transglutaminase is an enzyme first described in 1959 which creates extensively cross-linked, generally insoluble protein polymers (indispensable for organisms to create barriers and stable structures). Examples are blood clots as well as skin and hair. In commercial food processing, transglutaminase is used to bond proteins together. Examples of foods made using the enzyme include imitation crabmeat, and fish balls. It is produced by bacterial fermentation in commercial quantities or extracted from animal blood, and is used in a variety of processes, including the production of processed meat and fish products.

Transglutaminase can be used as a binding agent to improve the texture of protein-rich foods such as surimi (fish paste) or ham. Transglutaminase is also used in molecular gastronomy to meld new textures with existing tastes. Besides these mainstream uses, transglutaminase has been used to create some unusual foods. British chef Heston Blumenthal is credited with the introduction of transglutaminase into modern cooking. Wylie Dufresne, chef of New York’s avant-garde restaurant wd~50, was introduced to transglutaminase by Blumenthal, and invented a ‘pasta’ made from over 95% shrimp thanks to transglutaminase.

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