Atmospheric cold plasma (ACP) is a novel nonthermal technology with potential applications in maintaining and improving food quality. The effect of ACP on the activity and structure of mushroom (Agaricus bisporus) polyphenol oxidase (PPO) was evaluated. Results demonstrated that the dielectric barrier discharge (DBD) based plasma technology could inactivate PPO (up to 69%) at 50 kV with the increased concentrations of HO and NO. An obvious enhancement of surface hydrophobicity was observed, whereas a gradual reduction of total sulfhydryl content was recorded with the increasing exposure time. Data from circular dichroism, atomic force microscopy, particle size distribution and fluorescence spectra displayed the rearrangement of secondary structure and disruption of the tertiary structure. Red shifts of fluorescence spectra showed positive correlations with the inactivation rate of PPO. Therefore, ACP treatment could be served as an alternative approach to inactivate undesirable enzymes to minimize the loss of food nutrition and quality.
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