The comparative suitability of gum arabic (GA), soy protein isolate (SPI), whey protein isolate (WPI), and sodium caseinate (SC) for use as food flavorant encapsulants was investigated in this study by determining their ability to form small-sized, physically stable orange oil emulsion particles by high-pressure homogenization. The resulting emulsion particles were evaluated for their microstructural properties, physical stability, and droplet size distribution as a function of oil content and homogenization pressure. SPI-emulsified orange oil droplets were most stable and GA-emulsified orange oil droplets were least stable against creaming during 10 days of storage at room temperature. Light scattering results revealed that SC was most effective and SPI was least effective for producing orange oil emulsion droplets of e4 µm diameter by high-pressure homogenization. Transmission electron microscopy images revealed that SPI-emulsified orange oil droplets were surrounded by the thickest membrane structures but that GA-stabilized emulsion particle membranes did not fully surround the orange oil droplets. Statistical analysis revealed a significant interaction between several independent variables, i.e., encapsulant type and percent oil load, and two of the dependent variables, i.e., droplet size and depth of cream layer. No interaction was observed between emulsifier/ encapsulant type and homogenization pressure at R) 0.05.
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