Protein Denaturation

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About

A very important characteristic of proteins is their susceptibility to denaturation, or the undoing of their natural structure by chemical or physical means. This change involves breaking the bonds that maintain the molecule’s folded shape. (The strong backbone bonds are broken only in extreme conditions or with the help of enzymes.) Denaturation is not a change in composition, only a change in structure. But structure determines behavior, and denatured proteins behave very differently from their originals.