ChemE FacultyColloquium by Karin Schroen

25 February 2019 12:45 till 13:45 - Location: Watermanzaal/Franklinzaal B58-A2 - By: Communication ChemE

Microtechnology used as a tool to evaluate interfacial behaviour of protein based food emulsions

In view of the sustainable development goals that the United Nations have put forward as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, plant proteins have been suggested as alternative for their less sustainable animal-based counterparts. In this presentation, I will take examples from the work done at the food micro-technology group of Wageningen University, and use them to illustrate how protein functionality can be monitored, and link this to future developments.

Ingredients used in food production revolve around a limited amount of crops, and mostly only the fruits of these crops, whereas for example the leaves and stems etc. could also be used. In order to make better use of the available materials, functionality needs to be determined, and classically this is done at relatively large scale, whereas for emulsions the relevant processes occur at micrometer / nanometer scale, and within short times.

For instance, whether plant based proteins can be used in food products is highly dependent on their surface activity, and the time scale at which they can show this behaviour. In order to monitor this, we have developed various microfluidic devices with which we can evaluate interfacial tension (droplet formation), and coalescence stability of emulsions (during processing and shelf-life). This allows fast screening, comparison of ingredients, and even establishing a link with more classic process technology, and even digestive functionality.

I will mostly focus on our work on coalescence stability. Besides I will talk about the relevance for current emulsification processes. Ideally we have a good discussion about how these findings could influence innovative processes and also products.