Fabrication of Gel-Like Emulsions with Whey Protein Isolate Using Microfluidization: Rheological Properties and 3D Printing Performance

  • Yaowei Liu
  • Wenjin Zhang
  • Keyu Wang
  • Yulong Bao
  • Joe Mac Regenstein
  • Peng ZhouEmail author
Original Paper


A gel-like emulsion stabilized with whey protein was prepared by microfluidization, and the effects of the oil phase fraction on the physical properties of emulsions were studied. The rheological analysis indicated that these emulsions exhibited thixotropic behavior, and their apparent viscosity and solid-like behavior increased with increasing oil fraction from 0.3 to 0.6 (v/v). The microstructures, droplet size distribution, and thermal stability of these emulsions were also characterized using a light microscope, dynamic light scattering (DLS), and differential scanning calorimetry (DSC), respectively. The viscosity of these emulsions increased in an exponential way versus increasing oil fraction and showed good correlation coefficient (R2 > 0.99). The size of droplets in the emulsion increased from 301 ± 3.6 to 597 ± 7.3 nm. The DSC results showed that the crystalline peak of these emulsions gradually decreased from − 15 to − 21 °C and started thawing at ~ 3 °C. Visually, the textures of these emulsions could be transformed from flexible to rigid by changing the oil fraction, which suggests they could have multiple potential applications. Finally, the semi-solid emulsions were fabricated into delicate shapes using extrusion-based 3D food printing. Based on the results obtained, these emulsions may have the potential to be used as a solid-like fat substitute, which could be used in various applications such as cake decoration or customized functional foods.


Pickering emulsion Whey protein PHO substitution 3D printing 


Funding Information

This work was supported by the National Key R&D Program of China (2017YFD0400600), the National First-class Discipline Program of Food Science & Technology (JUFSTR20180201), Postgraduate Research & Practice Innovation Program of Jiangsu Province (KYCX19_1815), and China Association for Science and Technology Program (No. 2018CASTQNJL27).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Food Science & TechnologyJiangnan UniversityWuxiChina
  2. 2.International Joint Research Laboratory for Functional Dairy Protein IngredientsJiangnan UniversityWuxiChina
  3. 3.Department of Food ScienceCornell UniversityIthacaUSA

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