Interfacial rheological properties of adsorbed protein layers and surfactants: a review

M.A. Bos, T. van Vliet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

782 Citations (Scopus)


Proteins and low molecular weight (LMW) surfactants are widely used for the physical stabilisation of many emulsions and foam based food products. The formation and stabilisation of these emulsions and foams depend strongly on the interfacial properties of the proteins and the LMW surfactants. Therefore these properties have been studied extensively. In this review an overview is given of interfacial properties of proteins at a mesoscopic scale and the effect of LMW surfactants (emulsifiers) on them. Properties addressed are the adsorbed amount, surface tension (reduction), network formation at interfaces and possible conformational changes during and after adsorption. Special attention is given to interfacial rheological behaviour of proteins at expanding and compressing interfaces, which simulate the behaviour in real emulsions and foams. It will be illustrated that information on interfacial rheological properties, protein conformation and interactions between adsorbed molecules can be obtained by changing experimental conditions. The relation between interfacial rheology and emulsion and foam stabilisation is subsequently addressed. It is concluded that there is a need for new measuring devices that monitor several interfacial properties on a mesoscopic and microscopic scale at the same time, and for physical models describing the various processes of importance for proteins. Real progress will only be possible if both are combined in an innovative way.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-471
JournalAdvances in Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 2001


  • Emulsion and foam stability
  • Interfacial rheology
  • Protein
  • Surfactants


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