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Transglutaminase is an enzyme that is popular among modernist chefs for two main purposes - to glue different meats together for special effects (like a modern turducken), and to create consistently shaped and sized portions for even cooking.

My question is whether there are any known vegetarian applications for this enzyme? Has it been used with (say) tofu, eggs, or cheese? Is there a way to combine it with another protein to get it to glue lower protein things together like most vegetables?

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I had read it was cultured or grown using pig or cow blood or milk protein but that the manufacturer does not have to disclose how it is produced. Any one else heard this? –  user8577 Jan 6 '12 at 6:19
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As a matter of fact, here is a link to a PDF of a technical article that talks all about using microbial transglutaminase on vegetable proteins. This article is not for the scientifically faint-of-heart, and it does not contain recipes, but it does review ways industry has found to use transglutaminase in making vegetable-based food products, using things such as soy, wheat, rice, pea, sunflower, and sesame.

I have never tried using it to mix vegetable proteins with animal proteins, but chemically speaking it should work. Unfortunately, I have no source of recipes; you might just have to experiment.

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I'm relatively certain that transglutaminase will only bond proteins found in animal flesh or products (it is used sometimes to make milk seem creamier, for example).

I'm pretty certain, also, that it's derived from animals making it unsuitable for vegetarian applications.

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The brand most chefs use, Activa GS, is from a microbial source - see buyersguide.foodproductdesign.com/media/54/library/… . –  Michael at Herbivoracious Sep 2 '10 at 22:49
    
And, um, nummy! Here are the purported benefits for industrial use on chicken: It is compatible with existing processes and equipment and provides the following benefits: • Added value to trim • Effective in raw restructuring • Improves portion control • Modifies texture • Replicates appearance and taste perception of high quality, whole muscle chicken breast and thigh items • Improves products containing mechanically deboned meat • Creates new product opportunities –  Michael at Herbivoracious Sep 2 '10 at 22:52
    
Transglutaminases work on any protein containing glutamine and a free amino group, animal or not it does not matter. –  nico Jan 6 '12 at 9:55
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