Sugar-gelatin alternative to pure gum Arabic developed

By Stephen Daniells

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Gum arabic, Sugar, Food preservation

A matrix of sucrose, gelatin and gum Arabic can successfully
encapsulate citrus flavours, and offer potential as a cheaper
alternative to pure gum Arabic for the process.

The new study, published in the journal LWT Food Science and Technology​ states that since the supply of gum arabic (E414 in the EU) is variable due to political and climatic factors in the primary producing countries like Sudan and Nigeria, alternatives which replace the need for the gum or reduce the quantity used need to be investigated.

Researchers Vikas Kaushik and Yrj Roos from University College Cork looked at the effect of a gum Arabic, sucrose and gelatin in various ratios for the encapsulation of limonene, the major flavour in orange oil.

Encapsulation of limonene is not new, said the authors, with gum arabic, starch, cyclodextrins, and maltodextrin-gum arabic combinations previously reported to as encapsulating agents.

Looking into the encapsulation of two concentrations of the flavour (weight ratios (w/w) of 9:1 and 8.5:1.5, total solids (TS):limonene) using the freeze-drying technique, with the former concentration reported to result in the highest retention in the matrix.

With a encapsulation matrix consisting of equal measures of gum Arabicsucrosegelatin (1:1:1 w/w/w) 84 per cent of the limonene is reported to have been encapsulated, and electron microscopy revealed that the freeze-dried product was a dent-free, flake-like structure, resistant to shrinkage.

"The results of this study suggested that gum Arabicsucrosegelatin (1:1:1) mixture could be used for limonene encapsulation in freeze-drying,"​ report the researchers. "High amount of retention of limonene in freeze-drying might be achieved by homogenising the emulsion containing gum Arabicsucrosegelatin (1:1:1) at a single stage pressure of 100 MPa."

Further study is necessary, said the researchers, to explore the effects of ultra high-pressure homogenisation on the encapsulation properties.

Microcapsules are tiny particles that contain an active agent or core material surrounded by a shell or coating, and are now increasingly being used in food ingredients preparation.

Indeed, with the fear of commodification continuously looming, food manufacturers are turning to microencapsulation technologies as a way of achieving much-needed differentiation and enhancing product value. Tapping into key and emerging consumer trends with innovative techniques is becoming increasingly important for food manufacturers.

Changing consumer trends and tastes are primarily responsible for driving innovation in the microencapsulation market, says market analyst Frost & Sullivan. Since food manufacturers constantly monitor such trends, food ingredients companies are always looking for ways to meet these ever-changing demands, thereby promoting the need for novel microencapsulation technologies.

Source: LWT Food Science and Technology​ Published on-line ahead of print; doi:10.1016/j.lwt.2006.10.008 Limonene encapsulation in freeze-drying of gum Arabicsucrosegelatin systems​ Authors: V. Kaushik and Y.H. Roos

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