Reduction of surface fat formation on spray-dried milk powders through emulsion stabilization with λ-carrageenan

Martin Foerster, Chang Liu, Thomas Gengenbach, Meng Wai Woo, Cordelia Selomulya

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10 Citations (Scopus)


The appearance of surface fat during the atomization process in spray drying of milk particles often impairs the functional powder properties. To investigate a possible approach that could minimise the surface fat formation, the interaction between a whole milk model emulsion and λ-carrageenan at various concentrations was studied, as well as how it influences the atomization behaviour and the resulting particle characteristics. Carrageenan can stabilize emulsions in the presence of milk protein by adsorption on the milk fat globule membranes. If too little or too much of the polysaccharide was added, bridging flocculation or depletion flocculation, respectively, occurred inside the emulsions. The best stability and minimal fat globule size were obtained for a carrageenan content of 0.3% w/w. Rheological investigation indicated that the extensional viscosity can be an important factor influencing the emulsion disintegration behaviour during atomization. The λ-carrageenan stabilized emulsions featured a significantly increased extensional viscosity and a better fat encapsulation in the corresponding spray-dried particles, promoting solubility and oxidative stability. Surface fat extraction showed that the most stable emulsion lead to particles with the least amount of surface fat. Though the surface of these particles was still covered by fat according to spectroscopic analysis, this surface fat layer was very thin in comparison to carrageenan-free powder as observed by confocal microscopy. Yet, the addition of carrageenan was also found to have one adverse effect on the intended powder properties, as the strengthened emulsion network translated into denser particles and thus a deterioration of the powder's reconstitution behaviour.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-180
Number of pages18
JournalFood Hydrocolloids
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017


  • Atomization
  • Carrageenan
  • Emulsion stabilization
  • Milk powder;
  • Spray drying
  • Surface fat

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