November 20, 2014

What is retrogradation?

Retrogradation is another important property of starch. Retrogradation refers to the occurrence where starch reverts or retrogrades to a more crystalline structure upon cooling.

In most products, retrogradation causes deterioration of quality and therefore retrogradation has to be avoided.

Both amylose and amylopectin may participate in a textural change that makes them somewhat more ‘gritty’ with time.

In particular it appears that retrogradation is the recrystallization of the amylopectin where the amylose molecules clump together and separate from the sol or gel, thus destroying the semi-elastic network on which its properties depend.

Retrogradation is more likely to occur in a high amylose starch. Starches with a very high amylose content undergo retrogradation less readily than those with a lower amylose content and such starches are commercially available to food manufacturers,.

This occurrence is noted in baked products that become ‘stale’ no longer ‘fresh’ tasting or ‘fresh’ handling.  It is also observed in leftover, long-grain rice.

Moreover, the term retrogradation can also be used to describe changes occurring during cooling from gelatinization temperatures as well as changes occurring during long-term storage.
What is retrogradation?

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