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Probing the effect of aroma compounds on the hydrodynamic properties of mucin glycoproteins

Dinu, Vlad; MacCalman, Thomas; Yang, Ni; Adams, Gary G.; Yakubov, Gleb E.; Harding, Stephen E.; Fisk, Ian D.

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Vlad Dinu

Thomas MacCalman

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Associate Professor


© 2020, The Author(s). Aroma compounds are diverse low molecular weight organic molecules responsible for the flavour of food, medicines or cosmetics. Natural and artificial aroma compounds are manufactured and used by the industry to enhance the flavour and fragrance of products. While the low concentrations of aroma compounds present in food may leave no effect on the structural integrity of the mucosa, the effect of concentrated aroma volatiles is not well understood. At high concentrations, like those found in some flavoured products such as e-cigarettes, some aroma compounds are suggested to elicit a certain degree of change in the mucin glycoprotein network, depending on their functional group. These effects are particularly associated with carbonyl compounds such as aldehydes and ketones, but also phenols which may interact with mucin and other glycoproteins through other interaction mechanisms. This study demonstrates the formation of such interactions in vitro through the use of molecular hydrodynamics. Sedimentation velocity studies reveal that the strength of the carbonyl compound interaction is influenced by compound hydrophobicity, in which the more reactive short chain compounds show the largest increase in mucin-aroma sedimentation coefficients. By contrast, the presence of groups that increases the steric hindrance of the carbonyl group, such as ketones, produced a milder effect. The interaction effects were further demonstrated for hexanal using size exclusion chromatography light scattering (SEC-MALS) and intrinsic viscosity. In addition, phenolic aroma compounds were identified to reduce the sedimentation coefficient of mucin, which is consistent with interactions in the non-glycosylated mucin region.


Dinu, V., MacCalman, T., Yang, N., Adams, G. G., Yakubov, G. E., Harding, S. E., & Fisk, I. D. (2020). Probing the effect of aroma compounds on the hydrodynamic properties of mucin glycoproteins. European Biophysics Journal, 49(8), 799-808.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 23, 2020
Online Publication Date Nov 13, 2020
Publication Date 2020-12
Deposit Date Mar 29, 2021
Publicly Available Date Mar 30, 2021
Journal European Biophysics Journal
Print ISSN 0175-7571
Electronic ISSN 1432-1017
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 49
Issue 8
Pages 799-808
Keywords Aroma, Mucin, Interactions, Aldehydes, Phenols, Hydrodynamics
Public URL
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Additional Information Received: 17 August 2020; Revised: 12 October 2020; Accepted: 23 October 2020; First Online: 13 November 2020; : ; : The authors declare that they have no known competing financial interests or personal relationships that could have appeared to influence the work reported in this paper.


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