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Kalsec draws a bead on fish oil oxidation

By Hank Schultz , 14-Nov-2012

Dealing with oxidation-prone fish oil emulsions in sensitive dairy applications will be a little less problematic with a new system solution from Kalsec.

The new product, part of Kalsec’s Duralox Oxidation Management System, uses a combination of ingredients from plant and other sources to keep oxidation in check both in processing and on the shelf, said Gary Augustine, the executive director for market development at Kalamazoo, Mich.-based Kalsec.

Kalsec, which started out more than 50 years ago as an herbal extract company, has branched out over the years into flavors and natural preservatives.  In particular, the company has been a leader in natural antioxidant products based on rosemary extract. 

 “Most of these are systems, not individual antioxidants, so it’s a combination of different ingredients,” Augustine told FoodNavigator-USA.

The challenge of fish oils

Broadening the application of omega-3s from fish oils has always been a challenge because of the oil’s structure, Augustine said.  Because fish oils refined for their omega-3s content are rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, they react quickly with oxygen.

“You are going to see these oils be extremely susceptible to oxidation, which creates the free radicals and from there you get the off flavor notes,” he said.

These off notes are unpleasant and undesirable in any food application, but especially so in dairy because of its delicate flavor profile, Augustine said.

“Dairy can be a particularly challenging one because of its flavor sensitivity.”

Team effort

The company works with both the suppliers, in this case the manufacturers of the omega-3s fish oil emulsions, and the manufacturers of the finished goods.  Kalsec, with its long experience on both ends of the food industry, is uniquely positioned to straddle that divide, Augustine said.

We have a tendency to work with both the producers and the end users. We have typically started with the producers. But because we sell so many different food ingredients into the food industry we have communications with people in dairy and the other parts of the  food industry so we have contacts in the dairy industry or other parts of the food industry,” he said.

“Sometimes (the solutions are developed) in conjunction with each other and sometimes it’s done independently.”

Augustine said the company seeks to have input into how their oxidation management systems are used.  Timing of the addition of the antioxidant is critical to peak performance.

“The thing about oxidation, the earlier you can use (the oxidation management system) in the process, the better off you are,” he said. The Duralox system can greatly reduce oxidation, but it won’t fix the off flavor notes that have already developed.

“That’s why we like to talk to the processors in addition to the application folks,” he said.

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