In the present work, the influence of hydrophobicity of zein/tannic acid complex particles (ZTPs) on the rheological behavior of ZTP-stabilized emulsion gels is described. The hydrophobicity of the particles was controlled by the incorporation of different amounts of hydrophilic tannic acid, while retaining a similar particle size. The resulting ZTPs with varying hydrophobicity were successfully used to form emulsion gels with similar oil droplet size. With a decrease in the hydrophobicity of ZTPs, the storage modulus (G′) of emulsion gels increased, while tan δ and the frequency dependence decreased, indicating the formation of a stronger gel network. The crossover strain, γco, increased with a decrease in the hydrophobicity of ZTPs, indicating the gel network becomes more resistance against breakdown. In all cases, G′ increased in a power-law manner with an increase in protein concentration (G' ∼ cpn) and oil content (G' ∼ φm). The exponent n and m decreased with decreasing particle hydrophobicity, indicating that hydrophobic interactions between particles within the particle network in the continuous phase and the oil droplets provide a relatively larger contribution to the gel strength for emulsion gels stabilized by ZTPs with higher hydrophobicity. Increasing the oil polarity provided a lower gel strength for emulsions stabilized by particles with high hydrophobicity, while it increased the gel strength for particles with low hydrophobicity. The results show that the rheological behavior of ZTP-stabilized emulsion gels can be tuned by changing the particle hydrophobicity and oil polarity, which provide interesting features for various applications in the food industry.
- Zein/tannic acid complex particle
- Gel-like emulsion
- rheological behavior