Alginates To Boost Stability Of Dairy-Protein Emulsions

US - The use and stability of dairy proteins as emulsifiers could be massively extended by adding sodium alginate into the mix, according to new research from Massachusetts.
calendar icon 19 October 2007
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By using an electrostatic technique to adsorb sodium alginate onto the surface of the dairy protein-corn oil droplets, the researchers suggest that the stability of dairy proteins, known to be highly sensitive to environmental conditions such a pH, could be improved.

"This relatively simple electrostatic deposition method could be used by the food industry to extend the range of conditions where dairy proteins can be used as emulsifiers," wrote the authors, led by D. Julian McClements, in the Journal of Food Science.

Recent figures from Frost & Sullivan reveal emulsifiers, along with fat replacers, are leading growth in the food additive industry: since 2001 the market value of emulsifiers rose by some 5.6 per cent. Emulsifiers are used by food makers to reduce the surface tension between two immiscible phases at their interface - such as two liquids, a liquid and a gas, or a liquid and a solid - allowing them to mix.

The researchers prepared the emulsions by mixing droplets sodium caseinate-coated corn oil droplets with anionic (negatively charged) sodium alginate under neutral conditions (pH7). By reducing the pH of the solution to 3.5 (acidic conditions) the negatively charged alginate adsorbed to the cationic (positively charged) caseinate-coated droplets.

"We have selected sodium caseinate as the emulsifier and sodium alginate as the polysaccharide because these substances are both natural and are already widely used in the food industry," explained the researchers.

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