Several proteins from animal and plant origin act as microbial transglutaminase substrate, a crosslinking enzyme capable of introducing isopeptide bonds into proteins between the aminoacids glutamines and lysines. This feature has been widely exploited to modify the biological properties of many proteins, such as emulsifying, gelling, viscosity, and foaming. Besides, microbial transglutaminase has been used to prepare bioplastics that, because made of renewable molecules, are able to replace the high polluting plastics of petrochemical origin. In fact, most of the time, it has been shown that the microbial enzyme strengthens the matrix of protein-based bioplastics, thus, influencing the technological characteristics of the derived materials. In this review, an overview of the ability of many proteins to behave as good substrates of the enzyme and their ability to give rise to bioplastics with improved properties is presented. Different applications of this enzyme confirm its important role as an additive to recover high value-added protein containing by-products with a double aim (i) to produce environmentally friendly materials and (ii) to find alternative uses of wastes as renewable, cheap, and non-polluting sources. Both principles are in line with the bio-economy paradigm.
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