Food Gels: Properties and Applications

A special issue of Gels (ISSN 2310-2861). This special issue belongs to the section "Gel Applications".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 March 2024) | Viewed by 6745

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute of Agricultural Products Processing, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, No. 2 Yuanmingyuan West Road, Haidian District, Beijing 100193, China
Interests: potato base staple food; food component interaction; multicomponent gelation; modification of food physical properties

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Guest Editor
School of Food Science and Engineering, Jiangxi Agricultural University, Nanchang 330045, China
Interests: starch; colloids, food digestion, commercial sterilization, frozen dough

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Guest Editor
Department of Food Science and Engineering, Ningbo University, Ningbo 315832, China
Interests: dietary polyphenols; maillard reaction; probiotic; polyphenols; immune metabolism; gut microbiota
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue, entitled “Food Gels: Properties and Applications”, is dedicated to recent developments in the field of food gels, from their theoretical aspects to their formation mechanisms, properties, and applications.

Food gels are soft, flexible macromolecular polymeric materials that retain large amounts of water or biofluids in their three-dimensional network structure. Owing to the structural and viscoelastic characteristics of these gels, they play essential roles in modern food design; for example, they are used to replace fats, increase shelf life, and guard flavor compounds, and in the creation of complex product shapes via three-dimensional (3D) printing. An increasing trend has been observed in the use of hydrogels as stimuli-responsive delivery systems because of their sustainable, low-cost, nontoxic, and biocompatible nature. Researchers endeavor to understand the mechanisms of gelling processes under different gelation conditions and using different gelling agents, such as polysaccharides or starch, to achieve gels with specific attributes. Although many aspects of the formation mechanisms, functions, and applications of gels have been clarified thus far, many phenomena remain unsolved. We look forward to receiving submissions of new results on the interconnection between gel networks, the preparation of gels, and the novel application of gels with high functional properties.

Prof. Dr. Honghai Hu
Prof. Dr. Jianhui Xiao
Dr. Lianliang Liu
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Gels is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • structure–property relationships
  • conditions of gel formation
  • hydrogels in delivery systems
  • polysaccharide hydrogels
  • gel deterioration caused by food processing methods
  • applications

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

22 pages, 557 KiB  
Article
Efficacy of Chitosan, Pectin and Xanthan as Cold Gelling Agents in Emulsion Gels Stabilized with Legume Proteins to Be Used as Pork Backfat Replacers in Beef Burgers
by Nicoleta Cîrstea (Lazăr), Violeta Nour, Alexandru Radu Corbu and Georgiana Gabriela Codină
Gels 2023, 9(12), 970; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels9120970 - 11 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1348
Abstract
This study aimed to develop stable emulsion gels enriched in polyunsaturated fatty acids, formulated with a mixture of olive (75%) and linseed (25%) oils, by incorporating two different stabilizers—pea and soy protein isolates—and three different cold gelling agents—chitosan, pectin and xanthan—to be used [...] Read more.
This study aimed to develop stable emulsion gels enriched in polyunsaturated fatty acids, formulated with a mixture of olive (75%) and linseed (25%) oils, by incorporating two different stabilizers—pea and soy protein isolates—and three different cold gelling agents—chitosan, pectin and xanthan—to be used as pork backfat replacers in beef burgers. The color, pH, stability and textural properties of the emulsion gels were analyzed as affected by cold storage (4 °C, 7 days). Proximate composition, fatty acid content, technological and sensory properties were determined after burger processing. Meanwhile, color, pH, textural parameters and lipid oxidation were monitored in burgers at 0, 5 and 10 days of storage at 4 °C. A reduction of the fat content between 21.49% and 39.26% was achieved in the reformulated burgers as compared with the control, while the n-6/n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid ratio decreased from 5.11 to 0.62. The highest moisture and fat retention were found in reformulated burgers made with xanthan, both with pea and soy proteins; however, their textural properties were negatively affected. The reformulated burgers made with chitosan were rated highest for sensory attributes and overall acceptability, not significantly different from the controls. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Gels: Properties and Applications)
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14 pages, 3461 KiB  
Article
Short-Stranded Zein Fibers for Muscle Tissue Engineering in Alginate-Based Composite Hydrogels
by Lea Melzener, Sergio Spaans, Nicolas Hauck, André J. G. Pötgens, Joshua E. Flack, Mark J. Post and Arın Doğan
Gels 2023, 9(11), 914; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels9110914 - 17 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1374
Abstract
Cultivated meat is a nascent technology that aims to create an environmentally and animal-friendly alternative to conventional meat. Producing skeletal muscle tissue in an animal-free system allowing for high levels of myofusion and maturation is important for the nutritional and sensorial value of [...] Read more.
Cultivated meat is a nascent technology that aims to create an environmentally and animal-friendly alternative to conventional meat. Producing skeletal muscle tissue in an animal-free system allowing for high levels of myofusion and maturation is important for the nutritional and sensorial value of cultivated meat. Alginate is an attractive biomaterial to support muscle formation as it is food-safe, sustainable and cheap and can be crosslinked using non-toxic methods. Although alginate can be functionalized to promote cell attachment, limitations in its mechanical properties, including form, viscosity, and stress relaxation, hinder the cellular capacity for myogenic differentiation and maturation in alginate-based hydrogels. Here, we show that the addition of electrospun short-stranded zein fibers increased hydrogel degradation, resulting in faster compaction, improved cell–gel interaction, and enhanced alignment of bovine muscle precursor cells. We conclude that fiber-hydrogel composites are a promising approach to support optimal formation of 3D constructs, by improving tissue stability and thus prolonging culture duration. Together, this improves muscle-related protein content by facilitating myogenic differentiation and priming muscle organoids for maturation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Gels: Properties and Applications)
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16 pages, 4944 KiB  
Article
Application of Taro (Colocasia esculenta) Mucilage as a Promising Antimicrobial Agent to Extend the Shelf Life of Fresh-Cut Brinjals (Eggplants)
by Mansuri M. Tosif, Aarti Bains, Gulden Goksen, Nemat Ali, Alexandru Vasile Rusu, Monica Trif and Prince Chawla
Gels 2023, 9(11), 904; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels9110904 - 15 Nov 2023
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Abstract
Taro rhizomes are a rich source of polysaccharides, including starch and mucilage. However, mucilage has excellent anti-microbial efficacy, and unique gel-forming and techno-functional properties. Therefore, this study aimed to extract and utilize taro mucilage (TM), which is viscous and has a gel-like texture, [...] Read more.
Taro rhizomes are a rich source of polysaccharides, including starch and mucilage. However, mucilage has excellent anti-microbial efficacy, and unique gel-forming and techno-functional properties. Therefore, this study aimed to extract and utilize taro mucilage (TM), which is viscous and has a gel-like texture, for the shelf-life enhancement of fresh-cut brinjals (eggplants). Mucilage was extracted using hot-water extraction and the yield was calculated to be 6.25 ± 0.87% on a dry basis. Different formulations of coating gel solutions were prepared: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7%. The selection of the coating gel solution was carried out based on particle size. The smallest particle size was observed in treatment T5 (154 ± 0.81 nm) and zeta potential −27.22 ± 0.75 mV. Furthermore, cut brinjals were coated with the prepared mucilage gel solution and this showed a significant effect on the overall physicochemical properties of cut brinjals. Maximum weight loss occurred on the 10th day (12.67 ± 0.24%), as compared with coated brinjals (8.99 ± 0.42%). Minor changes were observed in pH, for the control sample significantly decreased from 4.58 ± 0.45 to 2.99 ± 0.75 on the 0th day to the 10th day, respectively. Titrable acidity of coated and uncoated cut brinjals was found to be at 0.31 ± 0.44% on the 0th day, which increased up to 0.66 ± 0.20% for the control and 0.55 ± 0.68% for coated brinjals on the 10th day. The taro mucilage coating gel (TMCG) solution showed pseudo-plastic behavior or shear-thinning fluid behavior. FTIR data confirmed the existence of several functional groups including various sugars, proteins, and hydroxylic groups. Antioxidant activity of coated and uncoated cut brinjals was found to be 22.33 ± 0.37% and 22.15 ± 0.49%, respectively. The TMCG solution showed effective results towards the various food pathogenic microorganisms. Overall, it is a natural, renewable resource that is biodegradable. This makes it an environmentally friendly alternative to synthetic additives or thickeners. It is cost effective, easily available, eco-friendly, and non-toxic. This can be an attractive feature for consumers looking for sustainable and eco-friendly options. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Gels: Properties and Applications)
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10 pages, 1152 KiB  
Article
Influence of Persian Gum and Almond Gum on the Physicochemical Properties of Wheat Starch
by Sara Hedayati, Elham Ansarifar, Mohammad Tarahi, Zahra Tahsiri, Vahid Baeghbali and Mehrdad Niakousari
Gels 2023, 9(6), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels9060460 - 03 Jun 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1576
Abstract
In this study, the influence of different levels (0.1, 0.2, and 0.3% w/w) of Persian gum or almond gum were incorporated into wheat starch, and their influences on water absorption, freeze–thaw stability, microstructure, pasting, and textural properties were investigated. The [...] Read more.
In this study, the influence of different levels (0.1, 0.2, and 0.3% w/w) of Persian gum or almond gum were incorporated into wheat starch, and their influences on water absorption, freeze–thaw stability, microstructure, pasting, and textural properties were investigated. The SEM micrographs revealed that the addition of hydrocolloids to starch leads to the formation of denser gels with smaller pores. The water absorption of starch pastes was improved in the presence of gums, and samples containing 0.3% almond gum had the highest water absorption. The rapid visco analyzer (RVA) data showed that the incorporation of gums significantly affected the pasting properties by increasing the pasting time, pasting temperature, peak viscosity, final viscosity, and setback and decreasing breakdown. In all the pasting parameters, the changes caused by almond gum were more obvious. Based on TPA measurements, hydrocolloids were able to improve the textural properties of starch gels, such as firmness and gumminess but decreased the cohesiveness, and springiness was not affected by the incorporation of gums. Moreover, the freeze–thaw stability of starch was enhanced by the inclusion of gums, and almond gum exhibited better performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Gels: Properties and Applications)
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