What is L-Cystine?
L-cysteine is a food additive often derived from duck feathers or human hair. L-cysteine is a non-essential amino acid and is generally safe for human consumption. L-cysteine hydrochloride is used in the baking industry as dough conditioner.
Cysteine, the L-enantiomer is known to food technologists as E920 ingredient.
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Production/Preparation of L-Cystine:
China is the largest producer of L-cysteine. The process starts with boiling and hydrolysis of raw material (feathers or hair) in concentrated hydrochloric acid and activated carbon, followed by electrolysis.
L-cysteine is naturally produced in the body using the amino acid methionine.
Uses of L-cystine in Food industry:
- L-cystine is known as reducing agent.
- It is a well-known dough conditioner, which reduces mixing time and improves its texture by increasing its elasticity.
- In Millard’s reaction, it yields meat flavour.
- It is used as a processing aid in bakery processes.
- It is used in the manufacturing of pizza crust.
- It also extends the shelf life of breads.
- It produces a firm quality of dough.
Food containing L-cystine
High protein content food contains cysteine and these are Cheeze, egg, pork, meat, yoghurt, legumes, beef, oats, soyabean, broccoli, garlic.
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Advantages of L-Cystine:
- L-cystine is a good dough strengthener in yeast-leavened baked goods.
- It helps to create anti-oxidants.
- It finds its application in food, pharmaceutical and personal care industries.
- It reduces toxic effects of alcohol.
Disadvantages of L-Cystine:
- Some people, who are vegetarians, don’t prefer to eat packed food containing L-cystine because it is extracted from duck’s feather or human hair.
- There are synthetic ways (through fermentation process) also to prepare L-cystine, but they are more expensive.
- There is no health issues related to the use of L-cysteine.
- It improves texture of skin and hair.
Approval: L-cystine got approval for its use in food products from the authorities of US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe.
L-cysteine is regulated GRAS by the FDA under Title 21, section 184.1271.