Imagine a world without emulsions, a global marketplace where food formulators suddenly do not have access to ingredients whose emulsification capabilities play such a critical role in product development. It isn’t so easy to visualize, is it?
Without emulsifiers, stabilization would break down. Balance of components in the formulation would be upset. Texture, flavor, and appearance of the final product would be compromised. All because emulsions and those ingredients that contribute to their making would be absent.
Fortunately, this is not the case.
A wide range of emulsifying ingredients does exist, bringing together diverse and often conflicting natural components of food into a consistent and desirable blend. Riken Vitamin Co., Schaumburg, Ill., a manufacturer of emulsifiers, explains further:
Food components such as carbohydrates, proteins, oils and fat, water, and air each have their own unique properties which sometimes come into conflict with other components—e.g., oil and water. Consequently, a third substance is necessary to increase the compatibility of the contact surfaces of the two components—to serve as an interface between two mutually exclusive materials. This substance, which is used to improve the quality of the food and its processing, is called a food emulsifier.
With the addition of an emulsifying agent, one liquid becomes suspended in the other as fine droplets. Foods such as shortenings, margarines, and mayonnaise are good examples of emulsions.
Of course, it’s not always that simple. According to the 2004 book, Emulsifiers in Food Technology, edited by Robert J. Whitehurst, sometimes the creation of emulsions is more like an art than a science. The art comes in forming very fine droplets of one of the liquids in the other phase and keeping these droplets stable. To add to the complexity, a key aspect of emulsion preparation is the determination of whether oil droplets are formed in a water phase (oil-in-water, o/w) or whether water droplets are formed in an oil phase (water-in-oil, w/o). For example, mayonnaise is 80% oil emulsified in water, and margarine is 20% water emulsified in oil. Of course, the type of emulsion formed depends on the type of emulsifier chosen.
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Emulsifiers have other functions as well. In the preface to his book, Whitehurst wrote, “More than just stabilizers of simple oil/water mixtures, food emulsifiers are now employed for crystal modification and for starch and protein complexing. Applications include modifying the rheology of chocolate; the strengthening of dough, crumb softening and the retardation of staling in bread; stabilization of protein, fat and water emulsions in meat products; and the rheological modification of sorbet, ice cream, and other dairy products.”
There are many different kinds of ingredients that have emulsification capabilities. Some examples include glycerol monostearate, mono- and diglycerides, monodiacetyl tartaric acid esters of monoglycerides (DATEM), gums, egg yolk, whey proteins, alginate, lecithin, carrageenan, and polyglycerol polyricinoleate. Each has its own special chemistry, manufacturing process, properties, functions, and application. Significantly, research is also looking at deriving more emulsifiers from proteins and carbohydrates rather than from fatty acid derivatives.
Traditionally, emulsifiers are used in salad dressings, mayonnaise, sauces, margarine, ice cream and other frozen desserts, baked goods, cake mixes, confectionery products, and many other food products. Emulsifiers—as well as the emulsions themselves which may contain flavors, colors, vitamins, minerals, and other components—are increasingly being taken to new levels, creating a number of opportunities for future applications, as well. For instance, they may play a role in helping to address the obesity problem. They can provide novel delivery systems for health management. Their use can help replace trans fatty acids in a formulation. They can enhance functionality performance, making possible improved products. And these are only some possibilities in an ever-changing climate.
This month’s Ingredients section looks at some of the ways that emulsifiers and their subsequent emulsions may play a significant role in the future in addressing functionality challenges, providing possible solutions to health issues, maintaining or improving product quality, and meeting diverse trends in the global marketplace.
Fiber Ingredient Stabilizes Emulsions
A zero-calorie fat replacement product, Z-Trim™, is an amorphous cellulose which has a self-emulsifying property that plays a major role in its functionality. Derived from the bran and hulls of cereals and legumes, the specially modified insoluble dietary fiber provides emulsion stabilization and other properties necessary in the reformulation of foods and beverages to make them lower in fat and calories without compromising their taste and texture.
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The product, invented by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture’s Senior Research Scientist George Inglett and patented by USDA in 1999, is manufactured and distributed by FiberGel Technologies, Mundelein, Ill. (phone 847-549-6002, www.ztrim.com). The company, a subsidiary of Circle Group Holdings, Inc., also owns the worldwide license to the ingredient for all fields of use. Because of the growing obesity problem, representatives from the company feel that the time is especially right for the use of this product and the advantages that it offers.
According to the manufacturer, fats and oils can be replaced in equal amounts with the ingredient, which functions as a fat mimetic because of its high water-holding capacity, described as 10 g of water/g of powder. The very high surface area of its amorphous particles explains the ingredient’s effectiveness in a broad range of applications.
Gels of varying consistency can be created to reduce up to 50% of the fat, depending on the application. These gels have significant emulsion capacity necessary for fat replacement function. In an interview with Food Technology, Triveni P. Shukla, FiberGel’s Vice President of Technology Development, discussed how at varying usage levels, the ingredient can produce stabilized emulsions in reformulating a number of food products.
For example, a 2% gel of Z-Trim can be used to create a stable emulsion for a creamy white, very light vinaigrette salad dressing, while a 10% gel has been shown to be effective when used as a replacement for shortening. In a 33% reduced-fat cream cheese, Z-Trim worked well with dairy ingredients such as milk solids that were added to the formula.
The ingredient’s viscosity profile in a 0.5-12% concentration range makes the ingredient very useful compared to other hydrocolloids, stated Shukla. He emphasized that tailoring the ingredient to a specific application will produce viscosities comparable to those of full-fat versions.
Shukla said that new uses for the ingredient are being found, especially on the frying side. Use of 0.5-1% can produce a coating that reduces the absorption of oil for fried products, and in snacking applications can reduce breakability of the chips. Because the ingredient is stable to high-heat and retorting processes, it opens the door to further opportunities as well.
Furthermore, the fact that starting in January 2006 food manufacturers will begin listing trans fatty acid content may stimulate use of this ingredient, which can reduce trans fat content in a broad range of products including processed meats, baked goods, snack foods, dairy products, dressings and sauces, fillings for pastries and cookies, pasta products, and drink mixes.
Shukla has developed an efficient process to manufacture the ingredient on a mass scale. He is also looking at different sources for the ingredient, including corn bran, wheat bran, oat hulls, and soy fiber. “At peak capacity, our facility can produce annually 1 million lb of Z-Trim powder from corn, soy, and oats. This translates into 25 million lb of 4% gel usable by food companies and consumers annually,” he said.
In addition to existing patents, FiberGel has added 37 domestic and foreign patent applications to the formula for processing and producing the ingredient on a mass-scale with many more expected to follow.
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Emulsifiers Reduce Trans Fats
Hydrogenation results in plasticization of the fat; this contributes to the functionality effect in baking, as well as the formation of trans fatty acids. The alternative, the use of liquid unhydrogenated fats, while reducing the levels of trans fats in bakery products, unfortunately can contribute to undesirable functionality effects.
One way of addressing this dilemma is using stable alpha-phase gel emulsifiers, noted Roy Silva, President of Aromatic, Inc., Westport, Conn. (phone 203-341-0400, www.aromatic.se). Alpha-stable Emulsifier Gels are compatible and synergistic with liquid oil, and are based on a multi-component emulsifier system having special functionality capabilities.
In cakes, for example, the use of liquid oils may result in variations of the traditional quality of cakes. Specifically, in the absence of or reduction of hydrogenated shortening and/or the use of liquid oil, aeration and viscosity of the batter are adversely affected. Proper selection of emulsifiers becomes critical in such conditions. When using liquid oil, the use of alpha-phase emulsifiers helps to optimize the aeration and stabilization of the batter foam and emulsion. “The optimal combination of liquid oil and alpha-stable emulsifier results in cakes with optimal volume, texture, shelf life, eating qualities, and no trans fat content,” said Silva.
Emulsifiers in the alpha crystalline form are outstanding foaming agents and play a very critical role in the aeration of icings and fillings made with liquid oils. Alpha-stable emulsifier gels form a continuous and very flexible film around the air cells, leading to very stable foams. In developing fillings with liquid oils, synergistic use of instant starch or hydrocolloids is often recommended to improve stability of the filling. Emulsifiers in an alpha phase may also improve freeze-thaw stability and allow addition of higher levels of water in the formulation.
Traditionally, hydrogenated shortening is used to tenderize soft cookies. Its removal may result in loss of cohesiveness of the cookie dough, which can result in processing problems. Consequently, the liquid oil must be used in combination with the alpha-gel emulsifier, which combines a monoglyceride with polyglycerol esters to give cohesiveness and machinability to the soft cookie dough.
According to Silva, when using liquid oil in bread and buns, the most prominent negative effect tends to be weaker side walls. This can be controlled by the use of an emulsifier combination such as monoglyceride and DATEM in a stable alpha phase.
Nanoemulsions Provide Novel Delivery
Nanoemulsions, a new method for the delivery of oil-soluble substances to mammalian cell cultures, are oil-in-water emulsions with a small droplet size, less than 60 nm in diameter. Obtained by high-pressure homogenization, they are stabilized by phospholipids, transparent, and easily taken up by the cells. The encapsulated oil-soluble substances therefore have a high bioavailability to cells in culture.
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The nanoemulsion-based delivery system, developed by NutraLease Ltd., Mishor Adumin, Israel, was the subject of a presentation entitled “New Beverages Containing CoQ10 in Nano-Sized Vehicles,” given at a New Products & Technologies Session held during the 2005 IFT Annual Meeting. The system, an oil-based concentrate, is designed to deliver coenzyme Q10, which previously was limited to capsules and opaque beverages because of its insolubility in water. Its solubility in vegetable oils ranges from 100 to 200 ppm.
Coenzyme Q10 is a lipid-soluble compound found in the mitochondria of all living cells. It is a powerful antioxidant that is essential in the production of cellular energy and has been clinically shown to support healthy heart function, regulate blood pressure, increase energy and vitality, fight off free radicals, and enhance the immune system.
According to the manufacturer, the recently developed oil-based concentrate has been shown to dilute easily in aqueous systems to form micelles, which are nanosized self-assembled structured lipids. Particles of this size will readily penetrate cell membranes which dramatically increases the bioavailability of the phytonutrients carried and protected by the micelles.
Commercially available coenzyme Q10 can be dissolved in this clear concentrate, which has an active load of 8% and is suitable for soft-gel filling and beverage applications. It is 100% clear, does not separate, can be diluted at any ratio in beverage systems, and is stable within a wide pH and temperature range.
The technology can be utilized for the delivery of nutraceuticals, essential oils, and pharmaceuticals. The formulations are easily applied to liquid systems (water- or oil-based), providing clear solutions with exceptional stability and improved bioavailability. The technology is now commercially used in fortified vitamin waters, fortification of foods with phytosterols, and cosmetic applications.
At the 2004 IFT Annual Meeting, Adumim Food Ingredients discussed the use of this technology to deliver soy isoflavones in clear beverages. The use of soy isoflavones in functional food products is limited to solid food systems and opaque beverages because of their insolubility in water. Furthermore, beverages containing isoflavones often exhibit undesirable effects such as sedimentation and sandiness resulting from the particle characteristics of the commercial isoflavone complexes.
Regarding the soy application, the company was successful in formulating oil-based concentrates that are easily diluted in aqueous systems to form nanoemulsions. Commercially available soy complexes with as low as 10% isoflavone content are solubilized in these clear concentrates. The main characteristics of the final beverage are active load of up to 50 mg of isoflavones in 250 mL, no off-taste, no sedimentation, and suitability in transparent beverages.
PL Thomas & Co., Inc., Morristown, N.J. (phone 973-984-0900, www.plthomas.com) is the exclusive representative for marketing this technology in the North American food and dietary supplement industries.
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Gum Produces Stable Emulsions
A hydrocolloid system, Ticamulsion A-2010, functions as an emulsifying agent in both weighted and unweighted beverage emulsions. Manufactured from the most commonly available grades of gum arabic, it can be used at half the level of other emusifiers and has been shown in laboratory tests to produce the most-stable emulsions with the lowest median particle size.
Introduced in 2004, the patented cold-water-soluble hydrocolloid is available from TIC Gums, Inc., Belcamp, Md. (phone 410-273-7300, www.ticgums.com). Labeled as “modified gum acacia,” it can be used in beverage emulsions and other flavor applications, and has Generally Recognized As Safe status. Usage level is said to be up to 75% lower than for other emulsifiers.
The company describes the ingredient as part of the next generation of emulsifying agents. The multi-purpose system is effective as a starch replacer and a high-performance stabilizer.
Also, at the 2005 IFT Food Expo, the company introduced Ticamulsion FC, which allows producers of spray-dried flavor carriers to increase their throughput without sacrificing quality or investing in new equipment. Based on the technology used to produce the original Ticamulsion emulsifying system, the ingredient may be used to replace modified food starches or gum acacia seyal in spray-dried flavors. In the past, manufacturers had a difficult time reaching higher solids levels which forced them to spend more processing time and use more energy to dry the finished flavor. The technology behind Ticamulsion FC enables processors to reach solids levels of up to 40%, which directly correlates to a reduction in water that must then be dried off, saving both processing time and energy.
Emulsifiers Coming Out of the Shell
Eggs have many functional properties that make them useful in a broad range of food products. One of these is their ability to function as a natural emulsifying ingredient.
It is the yolk portion of the egg that provides high-emulsification properties, acting to keep oil and vinegar from separating out of the emulsion and thereby enhancing the stability of the product. Egg yolks contain phospholipids, including lecithin, which functions as an emulsifying agent in food products.
Because of this functionality, egg yolks are especially suitable for use in mayonnaise, salad dressings, and cream-style sauces such as Alfredo and Hollandaise, as well as lower-fat versions of these products. According to the American Egg Board, Park Ridge, Ill. (phone 847-296-7043, www.aeb.org.), recent research shows that increasing egg yolk in products such as mayonnaise or salad dressings will increase viscosity and produce optimum stability.
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Egg yolk is available in a variety of forms. Salted egg yolk is commonly used in the manufacture of mayonnaise, since it produces a thick and creamy product. Dried egg yolk also produces a very thick mayonnaise when it is used on a solids level equal to that found in salted yolk.
In addition to the functionality benefits that the egg itself offers, new ingredient developments have been introduced which are said to enhance the emulsification properties of egg products.
For example, an enzyme, Maxapal A2, is used to modify egg yolks and give egg-yolk-based products superior emulsion properties, thus offering mayonnaise and sauce manufacturers significant processing and marketing benefits. By converting the lecithin in eggs into lysolecithin, the enzyme helps to produce an emulsion with high physical stability, high viscosity, exceptional heat stability, and extended shelf life. Mayonnaises and salad dressings which are formulated with the enzyme have a higher viscosity than those based on untreated egg yolks, are heat stable to 70–80°C, and can therefore be pasteurized, ensuring higher microbial safety and longer shelf life. The kosher/halal-certified product is available from Netherlands-based DSM Food Specialties (phone 31-15-279-3474, www.dsm-foodspecialties.com).
A related development, an enzyme-modified whole egg product called EggStreme® WE 300, was recently unveiled by Primera Foods, Cameron, Wis. (phone 800-365-2409, www.primerafoods.com). According to the manufacturer, the enzyme phospholipase converts lecithin in the egg yolk to lysolecithin, which provides a number of advantages. These include improved baking functionality as demonstrated by increased muffin or cake height, enhanced emulsification properties, and the replacement of standard whole egg at a lower usage rate.
The company also offers EggStreme Yolk, an enzyme-modified egg yolk product, which provides improved emulsification, allowing for higher processing temperatures and lower overall usage levels. Potential applications for these products include bakery goods, sauces, dips, and dressing-type products.
Emulsifiers Create Structural Diversity
Polyglycerol esters, marketed under the name Drewpol®, offer food formulators a variety of functional characteristics for use in developing innovative new food products. Derived from the esterification of vegetable fatty acids and polyglycerols, they provide emulsification, homogenization, and stabilization in a variety of applications because of their wide range of hydrophilic/lipophilic balance (HLB) values.
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The kosher-certified emulsifiers are available from Stepan Co., Food & Health Specialties, Maywood, N.J. (phone 201-712-7642, www.stepan.com. Functional applications for these ingredients include imparting clouding to beverage systems, improving emulsion stability and texture, extending product shelf life, improving flavor and color dispersibility and solubility, and inhibiting crystal formation.
The versatile line of non-ethoxylated emulsifiers can be used in place of polysorbates in baking and confectionery applications. Some of the products that may use these emulsifiers include icing and fillings, confectionery coatings, whipped toppings, coffee whiteners, low-fat nondairy salad dressings, and margarine.
At the 2005 IFT Food Expo, the company highlighted its Drewpol PGPR, a polyglyerol polyricinoleate which functions as a food-grade emulsifier to modify the rheological properties of chocolate-based coatings. It helps to improve the flow characteristics of molten chocolate by reducing yield value when blended with lecithin. Featuring an HLB value of less than 1, it is a highly efficient water-in-oil emulsifier. Also offered at the show was Drewmulse® GMC 810, a glycerol monocaprylate/caprate which finds utility as a dispersant for dry ingredients.
System Improves Dispersibility
A new stabilizer-emulsifier system—consisting of vegetable fat-based mono- and diglycerides, locust bean gum, guar gum, and carrageenan—is readily dispersible in ice cream mixes, ice milk, sherbet, and recombined milk. Called Riplex-E, the system was developed by Riken Vitamin USA, Inc., Schaumburg, Ill. (phone 847-310-8007, www.rikenvitamin.com).
Traditionally, ice cream manufacturers have tried to solve the problem of stabilizer-emulsifier dispersibility by introducing additional processing steps including preblending with sugar or other ingredients. However, incomplete dispersion, lumping, dustiness, wastage, and powder segregation and caking during distribution and storage still remained issues in ice cream production.
According to the manufacturer, this innovative system overcomes the dispersibility problem. Every particle of the system is a uniform blend of stabilizers and emulsifiers produced by a special particle-building technology the company refers to as Easily Dispersible Powder System, or EDPS.
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When the stabilizer-emulsifier system is added to the ice cream mix, moisture quickly penetrates to the core of each particle, resulting in rapid dispersion and hydration without lumping or forming “fish eyes.” In this manner, the system is fully and effectively utilized to impart consistent overrun, dryness of extrusion, smooth texture, and protection of the ice cream against heat shock during storage and distribution. The manufacturer notes that, in addition to the excellent dispersibility, there is no limitation on stabilizer-emulsifier ratio.
The Riplex series of stabilizer-emulsifier systems also includes products for dairy beverage application, such as stabilization of UHT chocolate milk.
Riken offers a broad range of emulsifiers, including distilled monoglycerides, acetylated monoglycerides, propylene glycol monoesters, polyglycerol esters, sorbitan esters, succinylated monglycerides, and other speciality products such as the stabilizer-emulsifier system discussed here, bread dough conditioners, and cake emulsifiers.
New Wheys to Emulsify
A specialty whey protein product, Excelon™ 156, provides emulsification, stabilization, freeze–thaw stability, and mouthfeel to a variety of products such as sauces and dressings. The ingredient is available from Excelon International, Lake Bluff, Ill. (phone 847-482-0818, www.exceloninternational.com).
According to the manufacturer, Excelon specialty products are acidified whey proteins specially processed to deliver texture and stabilization to creamy dressings, dips, spreads, dry mixes, cheese sauces, cream soups, gravies, and other applications. They can help build viscosity and creaminess, control moisture, and replace dairy solids.
In recent years, the food industry has increasingly been using whey proteins as emulsifiers, according to Dairy Management, Inc., Rosemont, Ill., phone 800-248- 8829, www.innovatewithdairy.com. Whey proteins can successfully act as oil-water interfaces to form and stabilize emulsions. Emulsification properties of whey proteins can be enhanced by controlled denaturation of the protein. In particular, the rate of diffusion to the newly formed oil-water interface and the rate of adsorption and unfolding increase with increasing temperature, enhancing the formation and stabilization of emulsion droplets. The unfolding of the whey protein exposes hydrophobic amino acid residues that facilitate the ability of the protein to orient at the oil-water interface.
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In frozen dairy desserts, for example, whey proteins are very efficient emulsifiers of fat and oil. They easily form stable emulsions and can be used to totally or partially replace other more-traditional emulsifiers. Additionally, the bound fat in whey products is relatively high in phospholipids, adding to the emulsification capacity of whey ingredients.
At the 2005 IFT Annual Meeting, researchers from the Dept. of Food Science, University of Massachusetts, gave a presentation on the use of whey proteins to facilitate emulsion formation and improve emulsion stability. It reviewed the current understanding of how pH, ionic strength, agitation, heating, freezing, and drying affect the ability of whey proteins to stabilize oil-in-water emulsions. In addition, it discussed new research conducted using whey proteins to form multi-layered membranes around oil droplets to improve the properties of food emulsions and develop encapsulation technologies.
A byproduct of dairy processing, whey protein continues to be studied for both its functionality and potential health benefits. In September, the 4th Annual Whey Conference will highlight whey protein’s role in improved product functionality, state-of-the-art whey processing techniques, whey-product-enhanced applications, and health and nutritional benefits. The meeting, held by the American Dairy Products Institute, in collaboration with the European Whey Products Association, will cover the latest developments related to emulsification capabilities of whey proteins.
Lecithin Stabilizes Pate´
A lecithin product derived from soybeans and other vegetable oilseeds functions as an emulsifier for use in pate´s and liver sausages. The ingredient was recently introduced under the name Emultop by Germany-based Degussa Food Ingredients/Texturant Systems (www.degussa-foodingredients.com).
The ingredient is said to offer numerous advantages. “Because of its emulsifying capacity, the use of Emultop in pate´s ensures optimum stability,” said Frederic Ballber, the company’s Global Applications Manager for Meat. “At the same time, it provides a very spreadable texture with an excellent creamy mouthfeel.”
In addition, although it is used at a very low dosage level, it ensures that the fat is kept evenly dispersed throughout the product, preventing separation during cooking. Because of its technological and economic benefits, it may be used as an alternative to other emulsifiers in the marketplace.
Acacia Gum Offers Improved Performance
Traditional acacia gum (gum arabic) provides emulsification, stabilization, film-forming, and encapsulation properties in a variety of processed foods and beverages, especially in the confectionery and beverage flavor emulsion segments. The gum is also a functional ingredient in pharmaceutical and selected industrial applications.
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Next-generation acacia gum solutions offering improved performance are launched by Colloides Naturels, Inc., Bridgewater, N.J. (phone 908-707-9400, www.cniworld.com). These ingredients are said to be the result of innovations in acacia gum technology.
Encapcia is a natural acacia gum which combines enhanced emulsifying properties with superior film-forming capacity. An economical substitute for other gums, it serves as an excellent protective coating and carrier for encapsulation of sensitive and volatile products.
Eficacia is an acacia-gum-based stabilizer which provides superior flavor and beverage emulsion stability over time, and is effective at use levels of 4-7%, compared to typical use levels of 20% for traditional gums or 12% for modified starches. The ingredient guarantees total absence of creaming, flocculation, sedimentation, or coalescence in the concentrated emulsion and after dilutions. It is particularly suited for highly concentrated emulsions with low dilution levels. It provides emulsion stability over a wide pH range and is highly compatible with most traditional weighting systems. It works well in highly colored systems and integrates easily with the majority of artificial and natural coloring agents such as beta carotene, yellow #6, and oleoresins.
Colloides Naturels recently opened its new U.S. research and development laboratory in Bridgewater, N.J. The facility will be improving upon the use of acacia gum in areas such as flavor emulsions and bakery applications.
Earlier in this article, I tried to imagine a world without emulsifiers and found it very difficult from a functionality perspective. These ingredients help keep diverse components together, bringing an overall harmony as well as consistency to the finished food product.
Without them, things would certainly get out of balance in a hurry. The new developments discussed in this article also suggest that ingredients with emulsification capabilities are being taken to a new level, in terms of both their functionality and end use.
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Furthermore, this observation may also be underscored from a marketing perspective. Recently, Leatherhead Food International reported that the global market value since 2001 rose by 6.8% for fat replacers and 5.6% for emulsifiers. That bit of news was certainly very timely for this article, which is making the case that emulsifying ingredients will play a critical role in a number of emerging areas, including the addressing of obesity problems, the removal of trans fatty acids from formulations, the delivery of nutritional components, the improved functionality performance of ingredients, and so on. And based on the above statistic, along with the wide range of developments discussed in this article, it appears that food formulators are increasingly realizing the importance of emulsifiers in these areas and others.
In recent months, for example, there has been a growing attention on developing foods for children. Some of these are novelty products. Some are being created in an attempt to address the obesity problem at a younger age. Some are part of an educational campaign that uses cartoons to promote the healthy eating of certain foods such as fruits and vegetables. I’m looking forward to the creation of cartoon characters such as Emil the Emulsifier and his sidekick, Steve the Stabilizer, and the important role these “crimefighters” play in combating health problems such as obesity, and bringing healthier, more functional foods to the marketplace.
Well, maybe I’ve seen one too many Batman movies. But, then again, who knows?
Anyway, imagine a world with emulsions and the exciting possibilities that prospect offers for future product development. As new products are created, one can safely bet that emulsifiers will play a role in providing balance—both literally and as a stabilizing force in an ever-changing climate.
Danish Company Expands Production of Emulsifiers
A Danish specialist in emulsifiers and stabilizers, Palsgaard A/S, is expanding its production facilities for distilled monoglycerides. The new production unit, which is scheduled to open in autumn 2006, enables the company to produce more than 30,000 tons of the emulsifier per year—more than double its current production.
The investment allows the company to expand not only its production capacity but also its range of highly efficient monodiglycerides and distilled monoglycerides based on hydrogenated and nonhydrogenated oils and fats. It also enables the company to offer extended flexibility in delivery to its customers.
The expansion is reportedly part of the company’s ongoing plan to develop its specialty emulsifier and stabilizer product program. Recently, Palsgaard also opened a new spray-cooling tower for the production of integrated blends for improvement of ice cream products in particular.
Palsgaard manufactures and supplies a comprehensive and versatile specialty range of emulsifiers and stabilizer concentrates, premixes, compounds, integrated blends, and extruded products for application within the bakery, dairy, ice cream, margarine, chocolate, and fine food fields.
More information on its expansion can be obtained from Denmark-based Palsgaard (phone 45 7682 7682, www.palsgaard.com).
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New Technologies Lead to Improved Emulsion Stability
Novel technologies are looking at ways for improving emulsification activity and stability. Achieving such an end can obviously have a positive impact on products such as ice cream, mayonnaise, and yogurt, in which fine particles of one substance are dispersed within another substance, as well as on a broad range of other, more nontraditional applications.
For example, an interfacial engineering technology, based on electrical layer-by-layer deposition, has been developed to increase the stability of emulsions to such stresses as thermal processing, freeze-thaw cycling, lipid oxidation, and high ionic strength. Researchers at the Dept. of Food Science, University of Massachusetts utilized this technology to create food emulsions stabilized by beta-Lg-iota-carrageenan membranes that have much-improved resistance to these stresses. The stability of emulsions to sodium chloride, calcium chloride, thermal processing, and freeze-thaw cycling were analyzed using zeta-potential, particle size, and creaming stability measurements.
Atomic force microscopy is being used to take emulsifier research to a new molecular level. Crop & Food Research scientists, working with Canterbury University’s Engineering Dept. and Industrial Research Limited, used the advanced technique to look at cross-linking of carbohydrate and protein. This understanding will help to develop conjugates with improved emulsification activity and stability.
“We’re aiming for emulsifiers with enhanced functionality and greater consumer acceptability,” said lead researcher, Jafar al-Hakkak, Crop & Food Research. “Most emulsifiers on the market are fatty acid derivatives, whereas these are being developed from protein and carbohydrate.”
Stabilization of omega-3 fatty acids with emulsification technologies has been studied by researchers at the University of Massachusetts. The susceptibility of polyunsaturated lipids to oxidation is a major cause of quality deterioration in many food emulsion-based products. The reaction mechanism and factors that influence oxidation are appreciably different for emulsified lipids than for bulk liquids. The researchers reviewed the current understanding of the lipid oxidation mechanism in oil-in-water emulsions, and studied the major factors that influence the rate of lipid oxidation in emulsions, such as antioxidants, chelating agents, ingredient purity, interfacial characteristics, droplet characteristics, and ingredient interactions. The knowledge was then used to define effective strategies for controlling lipid oxidation in food emulsions.
Protein Emulsifies Coffee Creamers
An emulsifying wheat protein for coffee creamers (30-35% fat content) and fat-filled powders (80% fat content) may be used as an alternative to sodium caseinates. Called Meripro 711, the ingredient was recently launched at Food-Ingredients Asia-China 2005 by United Kingdom-based Tate & Lyle (phone 020 7977 6143, www.tateandlyle.com).
The wheat protein can offer a very high emulsifying capacity—reportedly equal to the performance of the best caseinates—and total solubility above pH 5.3. Its excellent emulsifying capacity allows for emulsions with a very fine droplet size, which provides a good whitening effect. The wheat protein-based powders are heatshock stable and impart a rich creamy sensation and mouthfeel.
In the process, the ingredient has a homogenization efficiency at least equal to the best caseinates, notes Caroline Sanders, the company’s Product Manager of Proteins. As the fat is efficiently encapsulated by the ingredient, stable processing conditions are maintained in the spray dryer, even when very high fat levels are present in the emulsion. Meripro 711 solutions are low in viscosity and allow for easy incorporation.
The highly concentrated protein, which is kosher certified and suitable for vegetarian and halal foods, will facilitate the development of foods with true “non-dairy” creamer ingredients, increasing the choice for those individuals looking for alternatives to dairy ingredients yet wishing to enjoy products such as creamed coffee, soups, and sauces.