Structure and dynamics of water molecules confined in triglyceride oils
Though it is commonly known that a small amount of water can be present in triglyceride oil, a molecular picture of how water molecules organize in the oil phase is lacking. We investigate the hydrogen-bond configuration and dynamics of water in triacetin, tributyrin and trioctanoin using linear infrared and time-resolved two-dimensional infrared (2DIR) spectroscopy of the water hydroxyl stretch vibration. We identify water molecules with a single strong hydrogen bond to the triglyceride, water molecules with two weaker hydrogen bonds to the triglycerides, and water clusters. These species do not interconvert on the 20 ps timescale of the experiment, as evidenced by the absence of cross-peaks in the 2DIR spectrum. The vibrational response of water molecules with a single strong hydrogen bond to the triglyceride depends strongly on the excitation frequency, revealing the presence of different subspecies of singly-bound water molecules that correspond to different hydrogen-bond locations. In contrast, the water molecules with two weaker hydrogen bonds to the triglyceride correspond to a single, specific hydrogen-bond configuration; these molecules likely bridge the carbonyl groups of adjacent triglyceride molecules, which can have considerable influence on liquid triglyceride properties.