Elucidating the structure of soft matter fat systems by multiscale analysis approach

01 November 2020 → 31 October 2022
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Natural sciences
    • Chemistry of clusters, colloids and nanomaterials
    • Lipids
  • Engineering and technology
    • General chemical and biochemical engineering not elsewhere classified
  • Agricultural and food sciences
    • Agricultural, veterinary and food sciences not elsewhere classified
Fat crystallization soft matter mesoscale W/O emulsion
Project description

Fat crystal stabilized water-in-oil (W/O) emulsions are systems used in several industries, including foods, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, hydrocarbons, and coatings, and therefore their study is of great industrial relevance. In order to maintain their structure, these emulsions depend on the combined action of two different phenomena, fat crystallization and water phase dispersion, both of which are intricate mechanisms. Hence, through understanding all the distinct structural levels (nanoscale: 0.1 nm – 100 nm; mesoscale: 200nm - 1µ; microscale: 1µm - 200µm and macroscale: >200 µm), this project aims to gain insight in the relationship between formulation, processing variables and macroscopic product performance. Following this approach, so called multiscale analysis, it is intended to understand the dynamics that dominate the structural characteristics of the system. The uniqueness in this research relies in the combined use of advanced mesoscale characterization techniques (ultra small-angle X-ray scattering), industrially relevant processing conditions (AC-unit) and novel stabilization mechanisms (non-surfactant mediated Pickering emulsions). These findings represent a starting point for the formulation of clean label, low-calorie and/or low-saturated fat foods while maintaining the desired quality characteristics historically associated with edible soft matter W/O emulsions.