Stability of ACE inhibitory ham peptides against heat treatment and in vitro digestion

Elizabeth Escudero, Leticia Mora and Fidel Toldrá 

Spanish ham ImageElizabeth Escudero, Leticia Mora, Fidel Toldrá from Instituto de Agroquímica y Tecnología de Alimentos (CSIC, ES) have confirmed that peptides from dry-cured Designation of Origin of Teruel ham (D.O. Teruel, Spain) are stable after processing and digestion, and retain powerful Angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitory activity.

Dietary proteins can help maintain or improve health following processing or digestion, which generate peptides with activities, such as inhibition of angiotensin I-converting enzyme (ACE). ACE inhibitors decrease blood pressure, causing blood vessels to relax, which in turn reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Understanding how the bioactivity of ACE inhibitory peptides changes during processing and digestion is essential to obtain a positive opinion from EFSA regarding any health claim for functional foods.

In the study, dry-cured ham (D.O. Teruel, Spain) with a minimum ripening time of 14 months was processed at temperatures typical for the industry and underwent digestion in vitro before solid phase extraction. Peptides were eluted and lyophilised for analysis using the method of Sentandreu and Toldra (2006).

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  1. ACE-inhibitory activity of peptides from Spanish dry-cured ham are present and stable under all the conditions tested
  2. These bioactive peptides remained stable during processing, over different periods, when tested at the temperature typical of the industry (117 oC)
  3. ACE-inhibitory activity might remain consistent, post-processing and digestion, because several peptides generate a cumulative effect