Factors governing partial coalescence in oil-in-water emulsions

E. Fredrick, P. Walstra, K. Dewettinck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

195 Citations (Scopus)


The consequences of the instability mechanism partial coalescence in oil-in-water food emulsions show a discrepancy. On the one hand, it needs to be avoided in order to achieve an extended shelf life in food products like sauces, creams and several milk products. On the other hand, during the manufacturing of products like ice cream. butter and whipped toppings partial coalescence is required to achieve the desired product properties. It contributes to the structure formation, the physicochemical properties (stability, firmness....) and the sensory perception, like fattiness and creaminess of the final food products. This review critically summarises the findings of partial coalescence in oil-in-water emulsions in order to provide insight in how to enhance and retard it. Next to the pioneering work, a large set of experimental results of more recent work is discussed. First, the general mechanism of partial coalescence is considered and a distinction is made between partial and 'true' coalescence. The main differences are: the required solid particles in the dispersed oil phase, the formation of irregular clusters and the increased aggregation rate. Second, the kinetics of partial coalescence is discussed. In more detail, potential parameters affecting the rate of partial coalescence are considered by means of the encounter frequency and capture efficiency of the fat globules. The flow conditions, the fat volume fraction and the physicochemical properties of continuous aqueous phase affect both the encounter frequency and capture efficiency while the actual temperature, temperature history and the composition and formulation of the emulsion mainly affect the capture efficiency.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-42
JournalAdvances in Colloid and Interface Science
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • complex food emulsions
  • hydrophobic emulsifier additives
  • dispersed phase crystallization
  • temperature cycling stability
  • surfactant sucrose ester
  • thermally treated creams
  • dairy whipped emulsions
  • adsorbed milk-proteins
  • palm mid-fraction
  • competitive a

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