Abstract

The objective of this study was to compare Gaussian and Lorentzian multicomponent peak modeling methods in quantification of protein secondary structures of various plant seed and feed tissues within intact tissue at a cellular and subcellular level using the advanced synchrotron light sourced Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR) microspectroscopy (S-FTIR). This experiment was performed at the beamline U10B at the National Synchrotron Light Source (NSLS) in Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), U.S. Dept of Energy (NSLS-BNL, NY). The results show that in the comparison of the Gaussian and Lorentzian multi-peak modeling methods, the Gaussian method is more accurate for fitting multi-peak curves of protein secondary structures than the Lorentzian method, with higher modeling <i>R</i><sup>2</sup> values (0.92 versus 0.89, <i>P</i> < 0.05). There were no large differences (<i>P</i> > 0.05) in the quantification of the relative percentage α-helices, β-sheets, and others in protein secondary structures of the plant seed tissues, with averages of 30.2%, 40.4%, and 29.4%, respectively. However, there are significant differences (<i>P</i> < 0.05) in the quantification of the ratios of sheet α-helix (1.42 versus 1.60; SEM = 0.058) in protein secondary structures of the plant seed tissues. With synchrotron FT-IR microspectroscopy, the ultrastructural–chemical makeup and nutritive characteristics could be revealed at a high spatial resolution. Synchrotron-based FT-IR microspectroscopy revealed that the secondary structure of protein differed between the plant seed tissues in terms of relative percentage and ratio of protein secondary structures (α-helix and β-sheet) within cellular dimensions. The results also show that the flaxseed tissues contained higher (<i>P</i> < 0.05) percentage α-helix (38.6 versus 24.0%) β-sheet (45.3 versus 36.9%), lower (<i>P</i> < 0.05) percentage of other secondary structures (16.1% versus 39.0%), and higher (<i>P</i> < 0.05) ratios α-helix β-sheet (0.90 versus 0.69) than the winterfat seed tissues. It must be mentioned that the relative percentages of protein secondary structure may not reflect the true secondary structure. However, the purpose of modeling the relative percentage of secondary structure was to detect the variety of differences among seed/feed/plant tissues and their relation to nutritive value and digestive behavior. The results demonstrate the potential of highly spatially resolved synchrotron-based FT-IR microspectroscopy to reveal protein secondary structures of the plant seed/feed tissues. Further study is needed to quantify the relationship between protein secondary structures and nutrient availability and digestive behavior of various varieties of plant seed tissues. Information from the infrared probing of protein secondary structures can be valuable as a guide to maintaining protein nutritive value and quality for animal and human use.

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