Polysaccharides at fluid interfaces of food systems.


Department of Biological Sciences, University of Huddersfield, HD1 3DH, UK. Electronic address: [Email]


Fabrication of next generation polysaccharides with interfacial properties is driven by the need to create high performance surfactants that operate at extreme environments, as for example in complex food formulations or in the gastrointestinal tract. The present review examines the behaviour of polysaccharides at fluid food interfaces focusing on their performance in the absence of any other intentionally added interfacially active components. Relevant theoretical principles of colloidal stabilisation using concepts that have been developed for synthetic polymers at interfaces are firstly introduced. The role of protein that in most cases is present in polysaccharide preparations either as contaminant or as integral part of the structure is also discussed. Critical assessment of the literature reveals that although protein may contribute to emulsion formation mostly as an anchor for polysaccharides to attach, it is not the determinant factor for the long-term emulsion stability, irrespectively of polysaccharide structure. Interfacial performance of key polysaccharides is also assessed revealing shared characteristics in their modes of adsorption. Conformation of polysaccharides, as affected by the composition of the aqueous solvent needs to be closely controlled, as it seems to be the underlying fundamental cause of stabilisation events and appears to be more important than the constituent polysaccharide sugar-monomers. Finally, polysaccharide adsorption is better understood by regarding them as copolymers, as this approach may assist to better control their properties with the aim to create the next generation biosurfactants.