Impact of Enzymatic and Microbial Bioprocessing on Protein Modification and Nutritional Properties of Wheat Bran

Besides providing dietary fiber, wheat bran is a recognized source of protein and is considered a very valuable substitute for other protein-rich sources in the food and feed industry. Nonetheless, several factors affect protein bioavailability, including bran’s layered structure. This study showed the influence on the release and protein modification of wheat bran of different bioprocessing methods involving the activation of endogenous enzymes of bran, the addition of an enzyme mixture having carbohydrase activity, and microbial fermentation. Bioprocessing in acidic conditions significantly enhanced the solubilization of protein from wheat bran, reaching the highest value in the treatment where the sole endogenous protease activity was activated. Bioprocessing through controlled fermentation allowed a more intense proteolysis and strongly impacted the in vitro digestibility of proteins. The combined use of starter cultures and cell-wall-degrading enzymes was characterized by the highest increase of phytase activity and total phenols.