Nanoemulsions are utilized within the food, pharmaceutical, and personal care industries because of their unique physicochemical properties and functional attributes: high optical clarity; prolonged stability; and, enhanced bioavailability. For many applications, it is desirable to utilize natural ingredients to formulate nanoemulsions so as to create “label-friendly” products. In this study, we compared the effectiveness of a number of natural emulsifiers at fabricating corn oil-in-water nanoemulsions using dual-channel microfluidization. These emulsifiers were either amphiphilic biopolymers (whey protein and gum arabic) or biosurfactants (quillaja saponin and soy lecithin). Differences in the surface activities of these emulsifiers were characterized using interfacial tension measurements. The influence of emulsifier type, concentration, and homogenization pressure on the efficiency of nanoemulsion formation was examined. The long-term stability of the fabricated nanoemulsions was also monitored during storage at ambient temperature. For all of the natural emulsifiers, nanoemulsions could be produced by dual-channel microfluidization, with the mean particle diameter decreasing with increasing emulsifier concentration and homogenization pressure. Whey protein isolate and quillaja saponin were more effective at forming nanoemulsions containing fine droplets than gum arabic and soy lecithin, with a lower amount of emulsifier required and smaller droplets being produced. This effect was attributed to faster emulsifier adsorption and a greater reduction in interfacial tension leading to more efficient droplet disruption within the homogenizer for saponins and whey proteins. This study highlights the potential of dual-channel microfluidization for efficiently producing label-friendly nanoemulsions from natural emulsifiers.
Bai, L., Huan, S., Gu, J., & McClements, D. J. (2016). Fabrication of oil-in-water nanoemulsions by dual-channel microfluidization using natural emulsifiers: Saponins, phospholipids, proteins, and polysaccharides. Food Hydrocolloids, 61, 703–711. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2016.06.035