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Seaweed extracts could offer edible flavor films

By Stephen Daniells , 25-Jun-2010

French scientists continue to expand the potential of carrageenan films to encapsulate and control the release of flavors, with new data showing superiority over established options.

According to findings published in Carbohydrate Polymers, films made with iota-carrageenan exceeded the performance of “usual lipid supports” for retaining and gradually releasing an encapsulating flavor.

“This study presents new understanding of the role of emulsion based edible films as a matrix able to encapsulate aroma compounds,” state the scientists, led by Frédéric Debeaufort from the University of Burgundy.

Encapsulation technology can be used to deliver a host of ingredients - flavors, oils, peptides, amino acids, enzymes, acidulants, colors and sweeteners - in a range of food formulations, from functional foods to ice cream.

The technology is attracted growing interest because it can also decrease costs for food makers, particularly those using sensitive ingredients like flavors, and by reducing the need for preservatives.

“The food industry has been focusing its research on emulsified films, which require only one step in manufacture, as opposed to the three steps required for bilayer films. With the addition of lipids to form emulsified films, they can also be used to encapsulate active molecules such as aroma compounds,” explained the researchers.

In order to test their hypothesis that emulsified carrageenans films could be employed as encapsulators for flavors, Debeaufort and his co-workers tested the release of ten flavor compounds from a film composed of iota-carrageenan (Degussa Texturant Systems), or using an established lipid matrix: Danisco’s Grindsted Barrier System 2000. GBS is made from fully hydrogenated vegetable oils blended with beeswax, said the researchers.

The results appear to support the hypothesis, with the carrageenan films showing a great affinity for the volatile compounds, which strongly influenced the release.

“Carrageenans films resulted as possible encapsulating matrixes: they showed better performances for retention of more polar aroma compounds,” said the researchers. “Carrageenans films were able to retain volatile compounds during process film formation, and to release gradually with time.

“These properties could be exploited with the aim of flavor food product by using food surface coating technologies,” they concluded.

Source: Carbohydrate Polymers
Volume 80, Issue 3, Pages 984-988
“Encapsulation of aroma compounds in biopolymeric emulsion based edible films to control flavour release”
Authors: E. Marcuzzo, A. Sensidoni, F. Debeaufort, A. Voilley

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