Fibrillar structures in mixed systems

Jinfeng Peng

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

Abstract

Fibrillar structures are important structuring elements for food products. Understanding the behaviour of fibrillar structures in complex food systems is essential for successful industrial applications. This thesis presents the behaviour of two different fibrillar structures, i.e. whey protein isolate (WPI) fibrils and bacterial cellulose (BC) microfibrils in mixtures under various conditions. The WPI fibrils are prepared from WPI and the BC microfibrils are extracted from commercial available ‘Nata de Coco’ by high-energy de-agglomeration. In Chapter 1, a general introduction is given, where we introduce two different fibrillar structures that were studied in this thesis. Also, the aim and the outline of the thesis are presented. In Chapter 2, 3, 4 and 5, the behaviour of mixtures containing WPI and BC microfibrils under different conditions are investigated. By varying the concentration ratios, pH, NaCl concentration and further applying heating treatment, their physico-chemical properties in mixed solutions, mixed solutions after heating and further heat-induced mixed gels are investigated and characterized at both pH 2 and pH 7. In general, both mixing WPI and BC microfibrils without heating and subsequently applying heating treatment lead to stable and homogeneous mixtures at pH 7, as long as BC microfibril concentration is above a critical value. Microscopic images showed that the WPI aggregates and BC microfibrils co-existed in the system. WPI denatured and aggregated in the mixture in the same way as when it is heated alone. Upon gelation, the WPI and BC microfibrils form a duplex gel consisting of two independent and homogeneous networks spanning the whole system. At pH 2, the WPI and BC microfibrils also form stable and homogeneous mixtures in the liquid state, both before and after heating. Microscopic images showed two fibrillar structures that are uniformly and independently present. Upon gelation at higher WPI concentration, a bi-fibrillar gel is formed consisting of a WPI fibrilllar gel and BC microfibrillar gel that co-exist. In Chapter 6 and 7, the behaviour of WPI fibrils at pH 2 in dispersions containing spheres, i.e. emulsions and polystyrene latex dispersions are studied. When WPI and spheres are both positively charged (i.e. WPI-stabilized emulsion), we observed depletion flocculation and depletion stabilization when the WPI fibril concentration increases. When WPI and the spheres are oppositely charged (i.e. polystyrene latex dispersions), bridging flocculation and steric/electrostatic stabilization were observed at low WPI fibril concentration, followed by depletion flocculation and depletion stabilization upon increasing WPI fibril concentrations. In Chapter 8 the stability of emulsions at pH 2 in the presence of only BC microfibrils and in the presence of both BC microfibrils and WPI fibrils was studied.  When only BC microfibrils added at a sufficiently high concentration, the emulsions are stabilized by the presence of a yield stress as generated by the BC network.  When both WPI fibrils and BC microfibrils are added to the emulsions, the networks they form behave in the same way, as when they are added to the emulsions separately. The WPI fibrils induced depletion flocculation and stabilization of the emulsions, despite the presence of the BC microfibrils. However, at high enough BC microfibril concentrations, the emulsions can be stabilized against depletion flocculation as induced by the WPI fibrils. The competition between stabilization and/or de-stabilization induced by the BC microfibrils and the WPI fibrils can lead to emulsions with different microstructures and rheological properties. A general discussion on the results obtained in this thesis is presented in Chapter 9, which includes recommendations for further research and concluding remarks.

Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • van der Linden, Erik, Promotor
  • Venema, Paul, Co-promotor
  • Velikov, K.P., Co-promotor, External person
Award date30 Aug 2016
Place of PublicationWageningen
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789462578265
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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Keywords

  • cellulose
  • bacteria
  • fibres
  • protein isolates
  • whey
  • mixtures
  • emulsions
  • mechanical properties

Cite this

Peng, J. (2016). Fibrillar structures in mixed systems. Wageningen: Wageningen University. https://doi.org/10.18174/383192