Parmigiano–Reggiano (PR) is a worldwide known Italian, long ripened, hard cheese. Its inclusion in the list of cheeses bearing the protected designation of origin (PDO, EU regulation 510/2006) poses restrictions to its geographic area of production and its technological characteristics. To innovate the Parmigiano–Reggiano (PR) cheese manufacturing chain from the health and nutritional point of view, the output of defatted PR is addressed. Two defatting procedures (Soxhlet, and supercritical CO2 extraction) were tested, and the obtained products were compared in the composition of their nitrogen fraction, responsible for their nutritional, organoleptic, and bioactive functions. Free amino acids were quantified, and other nitrogen compounds (peptides, proteins, and non-proteolytic aminoacyl derivatives) were identified in the extracts and the mixtures obtained after simulated gastrointestinal digestion. Moreover, antioxidant and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibition capacities of the digests were tested. Results obtained from the molecular and biofunctional characterization of the nitrogen fraction, show that both the defatted products keep the same nutritional properties of the whole cheese.
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