Ioanna Zafeiri and Bettina Wolf of the University of Birmingham review the applications of Pickering particles in emulsion stabilisation and discuss recent results concerning the use of lipid particles and natural co-products from food manufacturing as Pickering emulsion stabilisers.
Much of our everyday nutrition is based on foods that are emulsions or have been emulsified at a certain stage during their processing. Emulsions are formed when at least two immiscible fluids, such as oil and water, are mixed. The generated temporarily stable mixture consists of fine droplets of one liquid phase dispersed into the other. Oil-in-water (e.g. milk, salad dressings, mayonnaise) and water-in-oil (e.g. butter, margarine) emulsions are the two most common types of food emulsions. Due to the above mentioned instability, surfactants are traditionally used as a physical barrier to prevent droplets from coming together. However, in the last two decades, solid particles of micro- or sub-micron-dimensions have been gaining prominence as emulsion stabilising agents. Via the so-called Pickering mechanism, these colloidal particles can adsorb irreversibly at the oil-water interface, to sterically (i.e. mechanically) hinder typical destabilisation pathways, such as flocculation, coalescence or Ostwald ripening.
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