Consumers are seeking healthy food alternatives with functional benefits.1 Beverages can be an excellent carrier for functional ingredients.
The challenge is to disperse nonpolar, oil-soluble ingredients in the polar water containing the beverage matrix. The conventional process to disperse oil in beverages is using gums like guar, carob bean gum or gum arabic. Mechanical forces applying high-shear mixing and homogenization form the dispersion. Fat droplets of diameters of around 1µm can be generated. Such dispersions are called beverage emulsions and are used to apply oil-soluble flavors, such as citrus oils, and colorants, such as carotene, into beverages.2
Beverage emulsions can only have a low oil load. They do not allow for protecting functional ingredients against oxidation.3
Several master theses from the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences’s Food, Nutrition and Hospitality Sciences (Oecotrophologie) evaluated the possibilities for microencapsulation.3, 4
Docosahexaenoic acid is an important functional ingredient for eye health and brain metabolism.5 Due to its unsaturated chemical structure, this ingredient is very susceptible to oxidation. The oxidation products give off a fishy taste and smell (off-flavor) not acceptable to consumers.
Microencapsulation can help to protect oil-soluble functional ingredients against oxidation. Among the materials tested for coating, alginate gives the best results. For encapsulation, co-extrusion and vibration, a Büchi Labortechnik Encapsulator B-390 was used.
Capsules containing docosahexaenoic acid were tested for stability in orange juice during pasteurization and storage. (Orange juice is one of European customers’ favorite juices.)
For this application, it is important to have an intense hardening of the capsules in a calcium chloride solution. Washing the capsules was also important to obtain a good oil stability. The sensory properties of orange juice with capsules was tested by ranking and triangular tests. The mechanical stability was evaluated by a tensiometer.
The tests prooved the capsules are suitable to reach the requirements for a docosahexaenoic acid health claim when 2.5g capsules per 100ml were applied to orange juice.
Additional microencapsulation learnings:
The capsules are also applicable in viscous fruit beverages like smoothies.
Flavoring materials like citrus oils have also successfully been encapsulated.
In clear beverages, the capsules show an attractive optical effect. The density of the capsules can be modified with regard to floating and sinking.
Some of the capsules are stable in an alcoholic environment. This would allow application in cocktails and liquors.
- Flavor release of the capsules in the mouth offers an explosive taste sensation.
For valuable input and discussions, thanks to Dr. Reinhard Hambitzer, University of Applied Sciences, Niederrhein, Oecotrophologie, Faculty of Food, Nutrition and Hospitality Sciences.
- Kumar PR, Prakash V. 2012. Innovations in Functional Food Industry and Wellness. In: Gosh D, Das S, Bagchi D, Smarta RB. 2012. Innovation in Healthy and Functional Foods. Boca Raton: Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. ISBN 978-1-4398-6267-4.
- Haug M. Getränke mit wenig Saft: Zusammensetzung, Rohstoffe Technologie, Produktentwicklung, Marktprodukte. GDCh Fortbildung 2011 Fruchtsäfte, fruchtsafthaltige Getränke: Technologie, Untersuchung und Beurteilung.
- Degenhardt T. Mikroverkapselung von lipophilen Zutaten zum Einsatz in fruchthaltigen Getränken.
- Tomaskowicz K. einsatz innovativer Rohstoffe in Getränken mittels Mikroverkapselung.
- Kaur N, Chugh V, Gupta AK. 2014. Essential fatty acids as functional components of foods: a review. Journal of Food Science and Technology. 51(10):2289-2303.
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