Food Gels: Structure and Properties

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2024 | Viewed by 10576

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
College of Food Science, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China
Interests: cellulose; gelatin; food colloids; emulsions; hydrogel; nanomaterials; interface interaction
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Recently, some food components (polysaccharides and proteins) are considered to have good gelling properties to form viscous dispersions and/or gels when dispersed in water. Generally, these food colloids also exhibit thickening, gelling, emulsifying, and stabilization properties. Gel formation is an interesting phenomenon that involves the association or cross-linking of the polymer chains to form a three-dimensional network, which can trap or immobilize the water within it to form a rigid structure that is resistant to flow. For some typical food colloids, they become viscoelastic, exhibiting both characteristics of a liquid and a solid, whose interactions mainly include physical interaction (e.g., chain entanglements, van der Waals forces, hydrogen bonds, ionic interactions) and/or chemical cross-linking. Notably, the textural and sensory properties of food gels depend on the type of hydrocolloid used, the selection of which is very important to the design of a specific food formulation. The common food colloids used as gelling agents include alginate, pectin, carrageenan, gellan, gelatin, agar, modified starch, methyl cellulose and hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose, etc. In addition, some thickening-type colloids can induce gel formation, including starch, xanthan, guar gum, locust bean gum, gum tragacanth, and gum Arabic. Some other proteins or polysaccharides can also form gels under specific physical and/or chemical conditions.

This Special Issue focuses on the recent research and advances in food gels, including structure and applications. Additionally, we also welcome contributions regarding the preparation and characterization of food gels extracted from different raw materials.

Dr. Hongjie Dai
Guest Editor

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Keywords

  • biopolymer
  • gel
  • hydrogel
  • structure
  • emulsion
  • food application
  • 3D printing
  • interaction

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 3224 KiB  
Article
Effect of High-Pressure Homogenization on the Properties and Structure of Cold-Induced Chiba Tofu Gel in Soy Protein Isolate
by Li Zheng, Joe M. Regenstein and Zhongjiang Wang
Gels 2024, 10(2), 99; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels10020099 - 26 Jan 2024
Viewed by 833
Abstract
In the actual production process of soy protein isolate (SPI), most of the homogeneous operating pressure is controlled below 20 MPa due to the consideration of production safety and the limitation of the pressure control capability of homogeneous equipment. In order to improve [...] Read more.
In the actual production process of soy protein isolate (SPI), most of the homogeneous operating pressure is controlled below 20 MPa due to the consideration of production safety and the limitation of the pressure control capability of homogeneous equipment. In order to improve the functional properties of SPI and adapt it to actual production, the effects of different homogeneous pressures (4, 8, 10, 12, and 14 MPa) on the structure and gel properties of SPI were studied from the perspective of production control. Compared to the control group, the modified SPI improved the hardness, springiness, cohesiveness, chewiness, and water holding capacity (WHC) of the protein gel (p < 0.05). Rheological analysis shows that both G′ and G″ increase with increasing frequency, reaching a maximum at 12 MPa. The gel intermolecular force results show that the disulfide bond, hydrophobic interaction, and non-disulfide bond are important molecular forces for gel formation. The particle size distribution uniformity of modified SPI was high, and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis showed that the protein gel with a continuous uniform and dense network structure could be formed by high-pressure homogeneous modification. Overall, high-pressure homogenization technology has the potential to improve SPI gel structure and WHC, and 12 MPa modified SPI gel has the most significant effect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Gels: Structure and Properties)
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14 pages, 5747 KiB  
Article
Production of Hydrogels from Microwave-Assisted Hydrothermal Fractionation of Blackcurrant Pomace
by Natthamon Inthalaeng, Tom I. J. Dugmore and Avtar S. Matharu
Gels 2023, 9(9), 674; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels9090674 - 22 Aug 2023
Viewed by 1366
Abstract
The exploitation of unavoidable food supply chain wastes resulting from primary and secondary processing for chemicals, materials, and bioenergy is an important concept in the drive towards circular-based, resource-efficient biorefineries rather than petroleum refineries. The potential production of hydrogels (materials) from unavoidable food [...] Read more.
The exploitation of unavoidable food supply chain wastes resulting from primary and secondary processing for chemicals, materials, and bioenergy is an important concept in the drive towards circular-based, resource-efficient biorefineries rather than petroleum refineries. The potential production of hydrogels (materials) from unavoidable food supply chain wastes, which are naturally rich in biopolymers such as cellulose, hemicellulose, pectin, and lignin, represents an interesting opportunity. However, these intertwined and interconnected biopolymers require separation and deconstruction prior to any useful application. Thus, this study aims to explore the formation of hydrogels from defibrillated celluloses (MW-DFCs) produced via acid-free stepwise microwave hydrothermal processing of blackcurrant pomace residues. Initially, pectin was removed from blackcurrant pomace residues (MW, 100–160 °C), and the resultant depectinated residues were reprocessed at 160 °C. The pectin yield increased from 2.36 wt.% (MW, 100 °C) to 3.07 wt.% (MW, 140 °C) and then decreased to 2.05 wt.% (MW, 160 °C). The isolated pectins were characterized by attenuated total reflectance infrared spectroscopy (ATR-IR), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), and 13C NMR (D2O). The cellulosic-rich residues were reprocessed (MW, 160 °C) and further characterized by ATR-IR, TGA, and Klason lignin analysis. All the MW-DFCs contained significant lignin content, which prevented hydrogel formation. However, subsequent bleaching (H2O2/OH) afforded off-white samples with improved gelling ability at the concentration of 5% w/v. Confocal laser microscopy (CLSM) revealed the removal of lignin and a more pronounced cellulosic-rich material. In conclusion, the microwave-assisted defibrillation of blackcurrant pomace, an exploitable unavoidable food supply chain waste, affords cellulosic-rich materials with the propensity to form hydrogels which may serve useful applications when put back into food products, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, and home and personal care products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Gels: Structure and Properties)
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15 pages, 2616 KiB  
Article
Gel Properties and Structural Characteristics of Composite Gels of Soy Protein Isolate and Silver Carp Protein
by Li Zheng, Joe M. Regenstein, Linyi Zhou, Sayed Mohamed Mokhtar and Zhongjiang Wang
Gels 2023, 9(5), 420; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels9050420 - 17 May 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1176
Abstract
Problems with silver carp protein (SCP) include a strong fishy odor, low gel strength of SCP surimi, and susceptibility to gel degradation. The objective of this study was to improve the gel quality of SCP. The effects of the addition of native soy [...] Read more.
Problems with silver carp protein (SCP) include a strong fishy odor, low gel strength of SCP surimi, and susceptibility to gel degradation. The objective of this study was to improve the gel quality of SCP. The effects of the addition of native soy protein isolate (SPI) and SPI subjected to papain-restricted hydrolysis on the gel characteristics and structural features of SCP were studied. The β-sheet structures in SPI increased after papain treatment. SPI treated with papain was crosslinked with SCP using glutamine transaminase (TG) to form a composite gel. Compared with the control, the addition of modified SPI increased the hardness, springiness, chewiness, cohesiveness, and water-holding capacity (WHC) of the protein gel (p < 0.05). In particular, the effects were most significant when the degree of SPI hydrolysis (DH) was 0.5% (i.e., gel sample M-2). The molecular force results demonstrated that hydrogen bonding, disulfide bonding, and hydrophobic association are important molecular forces in gel formation. The addition of the modified SPI increases the number of hydrogen bonds and the disulfide bonds. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) analysis showed that the papain modifications allowed the formation of a composite gel with a complex, continuous, and uniform gel structure. However, the control of the DH is important as additional enzymatic hydrolysis of SPI decreased TG crosslinking. Overall, modified SPI has the potential to improve SCP gel texture and WHC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Gels: Structure and Properties)
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12 pages, 5789 KiB  
Article
Synthesis and Characterization of a Novel Composite Edible Film Based on Hydroxypropyl Methyl Cellulose Grafted with Gelatin
by Yajuan Wang, Shuting Jiang, Yue Chen, Dan Qiu and Yunxuan Weng
Gels 2023, 9(4), 332; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels9040332 - 14 Apr 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1716
Abstract
A novel composite edible film was synthesized by grafting gelatin chain onto hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose (HPMC) in the presence of glycerol (used as a plasticizer) using a solution polymerization technique. The reaction was carried out in homogeneous aqueous medium. Thermal properties, chemical structure, [...] Read more.
A novel composite edible film was synthesized by grafting gelatin chain onto hydroxypropyl methyl cellulose (HPMC) in the presence of glycerol (used as a plasticizer) using a solution polymerization technique. The reaction was carried out in homogeneous aqueous medium. Thermal properties, chemical structure, crystallinity, surface morphology, and mechanical and hydrophilic performance changes of HPMC caused by the addition of gelatin were investigated by differential scanning calorimetry, thermogravimetric, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, scanning electron microscopy, X-ray diffraction, universal testing machine and water contact angle. The results shows that HPMC and gelatin are miscible and the hydrophobic property of the blending film can be enhanced with the introduction of the gelatin. Moreover, the HPMC/gelatin blend films are flexible, and exhibit excellent compatibility, good mechanical properties and also thermal stability, and could be promising candidates for food packaging materials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Gels: Structure and Properties)
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15 pages, 37048 KiB  
Article
Effects of pH and NaCl on the Spatial Structure and Conformation of Myofibrillar Proteins and the Emulsion Gel System—Insights from Computational Molecular Dynamics on Myosin of Golden Pompano
by Changfeng Xue, Zhisheng Pei, Pan Wen, Yaoxian Chin and Yaqin Hu
Gels 2023, 9(4), 270; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels9040270 - 24 Mar 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1266
Abstract
In this study, the effects of pH and NaCl concentrations on the structure of golden pompano myosin and emulsion gel were analyzed using SEM in combination with molecular dynamics simulations (MDS). The microscopic morphology and spatial structure of myosin were investigated at different [...] Read more.
In this study, the effects of pH and NaCl concentrations on the structure of golden pompano myosin and emulsion gel were analyzed using SEM in combination with molecular dynamics simulations (MDS). The microscopic morphology and spatial structure of myosin were investigated at different pH (3.0, 7.0, and 11.0) and NaCl concentrations (0.0, 0.2, 0.6, and 1.0 M), and their effects on the stability of emulsion gels were discussed. Our results show that pH had a greater effect on the microscopic morphology of myosin than NaCl. The MDS results show that under the condition of pH 7.0 and 0.6 M NaCl, the myosin expanded and experienced significant fluctuations in its amino acid residues. However, NaCl showed a greater effect on the number of hydrogen bonds than pH. Although changes in pH and NaCl concentrations only slightly altered the secondary structures in myosin, they, nevertheless, significantly influenced the protein spatial conformation. The stability of the emulsion gel was affected by pH changes but not NaCl concentrations, which only affect the rheology. The best elastic modulus G″ of the emulsion gel was obtained at pH 7.0 and 0.6 M NaCl. Based on the results, we conclude that pH changes have a greater influence than NaCl concentrations on the spatial structure and conformation of myosin, contributing to the instability of its emulsion gel state. The data from this study would serve as a valuable reference for emulsion gel rheology modification in future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Gels: Structure and Properties)
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13 pages, 2129 KiB  
Article
Effect of Black Tea Powder on Antioxidant Activity and Gel Characteristics of Silver Carp Fish Balls
by Jinling Hong, Jiaying Wu, Yanhong Chen, Zedong Jiang, Yanbing Zhu, Zhipeng Li, Xianmu Chen, Hui Ni and Mingjing Zheng
Gels 2023, 9(3), 215; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels9030215 - 11 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1382
Abstract
The effect of black tea powder on the antioxidant activity and gel characteristics of fish balls from silver carp were investigated after freezing storage for 7 days. The results show that black tea powder with different concentrations of 0.1%, 0.2% and 0.3% ( [...] Read more.
The effect of black tea powder on the antioxidant activity and gel characteristics of fish balls from silver carp were investigated after freezing storage for 7 days. The results show that black tea powder with different concentrations of 0.1%, 0.2% and 0.3% (w/w) could significantly increase the antioxidant activity of fish balls (p < 0.05). In particular, at the concentration of 0.3%, the antioxidant activity was the strongest among these samples, where the reducing power, DPPH, ABTS and OH free radical scavenging rate were up to 0.33, 57.93%, 89.24% and 50.64%, respectively. In addition, black tea powder at the level of 0.3% significantly increased the gel strength, hardness and chewiness while greatly reducing the whiteness of the fish balls (p < 0.05). ESEM observation found that the addition of black tea powder could promote the crosslinking of proteins and reduced the pore size of the gel network structure of the fish balls. The results suggest that black tea powder could be used as a natural antioxidant and gel texture enhancer in fish balls, which we found to be much related to the phenolic compounds of black tea powder. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Gels: Structure and Properties)
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15 pages, 3381 KiB  
Article
Physicochemical and Fibril Formation Properties of Pufferfish (Takifugu obscurus) Skin Collagen from Solvent Extraction in Different Conditions
by Shanshan Wang, Deqing Zhou, Nan Liu, Yong Sun and Guohui Sun
Gels 2023, 9(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels9010017 - 26 Dec 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1747
Abstract
Acid-solubilized (ASC) and pepsin-solubilized collagen (PSC) extracted at 4 °C (ASC-4 and PSC-4), 12 °C (ASC-12 and PSC-12), and 20 °C (ASC-20 and PSC-20) from the skin of farmed pufferfish (Takifugu obscurus) was characterized by SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), Fourier-transform infrared [...] Read more.
Acid-solubilized (ASC) and pepsin-solubilized collagen (PSC) extracted at 4 °C (ASC-4 and PSC-4), 12 °C (ASC-12 and PSC-12), and 20 °C (ASC-20 and PSC-20) from the skin of farmed pufferfish (Takifugu obscurus) was characterized by SDS-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and fibril-forming tests. The results indicate that extraction at 12 °C can effectively improve the extraction efficiency of natural collagen compared with extraction at 4 °C. However, extraction at 20 °C results in a decrease in molecular integrity, thus, inducing the resultant collagen to degrade or even lose fibril-forming ability. Transmission electron microscope (TEM) images revealed that ASC-4, PSC-4, ASC-12, and PSC-12 can assemble into fibrils with D-periodicities, and ASC-20 associated into molecular aggregates alongside partial D-banded fibrils, while no well-defined fibrils were observed in PSC-20. Scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis confirmed the well-defined fibril morphologies of ASC-4, PSC-4, ASC-12, and PSC-12 with imino acid contents between 190.0 and 197.8 residues/1000 residues. The denaturation temperature of ASC-4, PSC-4, ASC-12 and PSC-12 was 30.0, 27.6, 25.9 and 22.7 °C, respectively. This study indicates that ASC and PSC extracted at 4 °C and 12 °C could be alternatives to terrestrial collagens for industrial applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Gels: Structure and Properties)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

1.

Tentative Title: Formation of the Gel Structure of Curd Whey by Adding Psillium

Author: Dr. Alla Novokshanova, et al.

 

2.

Tentative Title: Effect of homogeneous modification on structural properties and gel properties of soybean protein isolates

Author: Dr. Li Zheng, et al.

 

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