Transglutaminase (TG), aka Meat Glue, is a natural enzyme that has the ability to glue protein-containing foods together. When raw meats are bound with TG, they typically have the strength and appearance of whole uncut muscles.
Primary uses of transglutaminase include:
Making uniform portions that cook evenly, look good, and reduce waste.
Binding meat mixtures like sausages without casings.
Making meat combinations like bacon and scallops.
Producing special effects like meat noodles, meat and vegetable pastas, etc.
Additionally, TG can thicken egg yolks, strengthen dough mixtures, thicken dairy systems, and increase yield in tofu production, among other applications.
How Does Transglutaminase Work?
Transglutaminase is a naturally occurring enzyme in plants, animals, and bacteria. Enzymes are proteins that act as catalysts in chemical reactions; they speed up these reactions and in some cases cause reactions to occur that otherwise wouldnt.
TG bonds protein molecules together with a (very strong) covalent bond by linking the amino acids glutamine and lysine.
Is Transglutaminase Safe?
Transglutaminase is safe. It will not harm you or glue your hands together. TG is deactivated by most cooking techniques and imparts no off-flavors to foods. TG is classified by the FDA as a GRAS product (generally recognized as safe) when used properly.
Sources: Ajinomoto Corp., CookingIssues.com
Modernist Pantry carries the full line of Activa® brand transglutaminase preparations and is the Exclusive source for meat glue in both small and large packages.