The effect of emulsifier type on the secondary crystallisation of monoacylglycerol and triacylglycerols in model dairy emulsions

Stephanie V. MacWilliams, Damien A. Sebben, Andrew J. Clulow, James K. Ferri, Graeme Gillies, Matt Golding, Ben J. Boyd, David A. Beattie, Marta Krasowska

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Dairy emulsions contain an intrinsically heterogeneous lipid phase, whose components undergo crystallisation in a manner that is critical to dairy product formulation, storage, and sensory perception. Further complexity is engendered by the diverse array of interfacially-active molecules naturally present within the serum of dairy systems, and those that are added for specific formulation purposes, all of which interact at the lipid-serum interface and modify the impact of lipid crystals on dairy emulsion stability. The work described in this article addresses this complexity, with a specific focus on the impact of temperature cycling and the effect of emulsifier type on the formation and persistence of lipid crystals at lipid-solution interfaces. Profile analysis tensiometry experiments were performed using single droplets of the low melting fraction of dairy lipids, in the presence and absence of emulsifiers (Tween 80 and whey protein isolate, WPI) and during the temperature cycling, to study the formation of monoacylglycerol (MAG) crystals at the lipid-solution interface. Companion experiments on the same lipid systems, and at the same cooling and heating rates, were undertaken with synchrotron small angle X-ray scattering, to specifically analyse the effect of emulsifier type on the formation of triacylglycerol (TAG) crystals at the lipid-solution interface of a model dairy emulsion. These two complementary techniques have revealed that Tween 80 molecules delay MAG and TAG crystal formation by lowering the temperature at which the crystallisation occurs during two cooling cycles. WPI molecules delay the crystallisation of MAGs and TAGs during the first cooling cycle, while MAG crystals form without delay during the second cooling cycle at the same temperature as MAG crystals in an emulsifier free system. The crystallisation of TAGs is inhibited during the second cooling cycle. The observed differences in crystallisation behaviour at the interface upon temperature cycling can provide further insight into the impact of emulsifiers on the long-term stability of emulsion-based dairy systems during storage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2839-2848
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Colloid and Interface Science
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2022


  • Interfacial crystallisation
  • Monoacylglycerols
  • Profile analysis tensiometry
  • small angle X-ray scattering
  • Triacylglycerols

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