Pea cell walls have been shown to encapsulate nutrients inside cells, thereby limiting their hydrolysis by digestive enzymes. However, it is unknown how the cell wall performs this barrier function. In particular, this could be due to the presence of specific polysaccharides or, most probably, the organisation of the components within the cell wall. This study aimed to investigate how cell walls prevented protein hydrolysis. To address this objective, isolated cells were obtained using different treatments thought to affect cell walls differently (incubations in water, salt or EDTA solutions) and digested in vitro using a three-phase (oral, gastric and intestinal) model. Purified polysaccharides (cellulose, rhamnogalacturonan I and xyloglucan) and solutions obtained from the incubation of pea fibres and flour were also used in our digestion experiments. We found that protein bioaccessibility (here defined as the amount of protein released from the pea cells) and hydrolysis was lower after the gastric...

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