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Stabilize Pickering emulsions with polysaccharide-polypeptide nanocomplexes.

Polysaccharide-protein polypeptide complexes have been widely used in food science, nutraceutical, cosmetic and pharmaceutical applications.

Now, an emerging application of the complexes involves stabilizing Pickering emulsions. Unlike classic emulsions, which are emulsified by amphiphilic emulsifiers, Pickering emulsions are stabilized by solid particles. They are able to avoid the potential adverse effects associated with classic emulsifiers, such as irritancy.

Until now, most food-grade Pickering stabilizers have been proteins or polysaccharides. Less attention has been given polysaccharide-protein polypeptide complexes. Recently, scientists at Rutgers University developed chitosan-caseinophosphopeptide (CPP) nanocomplexes that can be used to stabilize a Pickering emulsion.

The Rutgers research represents a new perspective for applying polysaccharide-polypeptide complexes in food science. It's a way to utilize these nanocomplexes as a multi-platform nutraceutical encapsulation system, since nutraceuticals can be encapsulated in the nanocomplexes or in the oil phase.

The scientists prepared three types of chitosan-CPP nanocomplexes with different chitosan-to-CPP ratios. The particle sizes of the nanocomplexes were characterized by dynamic light scattering. Their morphologies were monitored by atomic force microscopy (AFM). Their surface hydropholicities were determined by measuring their air-water contact angles.

The researchers found that the particle size of the nanocomplexes increased as the content of chitosan increased, thanks to aggregation, which was confirmed by AFM images. The surface hydropholicity of the nanocomplexes also increased as chitosan content increased, which was attributed to the hydrophilic nature of the chitosan molecules. Pickering emulsions formed with all three nanocomplexes.

The researchers then used these nanocomplexes to stabilize Pickering emulsions. Their ability as Pickering stabilizers was analyzed in terms of concentration ranges that can form emulsions and the content of oil that can be stabilized. The scientists examined the stabilities of the Pickering emulsions in a range of from pH 2 to pH 8 and with ionic strength of from 0 M to 0.3 M sodium chloride. The rheological properties of the emulsions were also characterized.

The ability of these nanocomplexes to function as Pickering stabilizers decreased when chitosan concentration increased. These emulsions showed good stability against ionic strength change, but low pH may affect their stability. They also showed gel-like properties.

Further information. Qingrong Huang, Food Science Department, Cook College, Rutgers University, 65 Dudley Rd., New Brunswick, NJ 08901; phone: 848-932-5514; fax: 732-932-6776; email:

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Author:Huang, Qingrong
Publication:Emerging Food R&D Report
Date:Apr 1, 2019
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