Overview of Food Emulsifiers
Emulsifiers, also known as surfactants, are composed of amphiphilic molecules which act to form and stabilize colloids, emulsions, and foams. They act at interfaces between mutually insoluble phases. The hydrophilic region is attracted to the aqueous phase, while the non-polar group seeks the lipid or air phase. Solid emulsifiers can crystallize into a number of crystal structures known as polymorphic forms. When mixed with water, the molecules can aggregate into mesophases which may prove useful for controlling physical properties of some foods.
Emulsifiers are food additives regulated by government bodies such as the FDA and EEC. Other countries may have their own constraints on the types of emulsifiers used.
KeywordsAmphiphilic Hydrophilic Lipophilic Food regulations Generally recognized as safe (GRAS) Direct food additives Anionic Cationic Amphoteric Nonionic Hydrophilic-lipophilic balance Bancroft’s Rule Mesophases Lamellar Hexagonal Cubic Factorial designs
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