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Retraction: Stable ‘arrested’ non-aqueous edible foams based on food emulsifiers

Jeanne Andres
Royal Society of Chemistry, Thomas Graham House, Cambridge Science Park, Milton Road, Cambridge, CB4 0WF, UK. E-mail: food-rsc@rsc.org

Received 4th February 2020 , Accepted 4th February 2020

First published on 12th February 2020


Retraction of ‘Stable ‘arrested’ non-aqueous edible foams based on food emulsifiers’ by A. R. Patel, Food Funct., 2017, 8, 2115–2120.


The Royal Society of Chemistry hereby wholly retracts this Food & Function article following an investigation by the Commission for Research Integrity (CRI) of Ghent University into a complaint concerning data optimisation and falsification affecting this article. After a thorough investigation by the CRI the complaint was proven and then taken for a second opinion to the Flemish Committee for Research Integrity that again decided that falsification had occurred.

The institution informed us that the work was based on a thesis1 but many of the results in the published article do not match the original research data presented in the thesis. The CRI's conclusion of their investigation was that “the research data have been optimized (data falsification) which is scientifically unacceptable”.

The CRI provided the Royal Society of Chemistry with their analysis of the integrity of Fig. 4, 5 and 7, which is detailed below.

The photographs of the two tubes presented in Fig. 4 were taken from Fig. 5 and 7 of ref. 1. In addition, the cryo-SEM image in Fig. 4 was reproduced from Fig. 17f of ref. 1 but the scale bar was altered.

The CRI informed us that Fig. 5(a) in the article “represents the size distributions of air bubbles in foams for sucrose esters (SE, 10[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]0) and a combination of sucrose esters and sunflower lecithin (SE[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]SL, 8[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]2). Different size distributions were given as compared to those in the thesis of Kinga Karp. Prof. Patel states in the article that the size distributions of the SE (10[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]0) and SE[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]SL (8[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]2) are comparable. However, the original data (from the thesis of Kinga Karp) suggests that the SE (10[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]0) foam has more small bubbles and a different shape than the SE[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]SL (8[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]2) combination. In addition, the SE[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]SL (8[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]2) combinations have some very large bubbles (>80 μm) which Prof. Patel does not present in Fig. 5a. Bubbles with size >80 μm have been cut off, while these are the most important ones (they show that SE[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]SL 8[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]2 is not more stable). In the article Prof. Patel draws conclusions based on adjusted data.”

In addition, Fig. 5(c) and (d) have been reproduced from ref. 1, but CRI informed us that the image presented in Fig. 5(c) actually represents a 5 wt% SE foam (which is more stable) and not a 10 wt% SE foam as implied in the article.

Regarding the integrity of Fig. 7, the CRI informed us that “Prof. Patel discusses the temperature stability of oil foams prepared from sucrose esters (SE, 10[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]0) and sucrose esters and sunflower lecithin (SE[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]SL, 8[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]2). He states that foams prepared from SE[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]SL (8[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]2) were relatively stable above the melting range of SE[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]SL (8[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]2) and attributes this to the formation of an elastic film that provided a better stability to air bubbles against internal contact and eventual coalescence. He even relates this to applications: ‘such high temperature stability could be of interest for applications such as formulating a cooking foam for shallow frying applications’. However, the two images in Fig. 7, which were presented as a SE[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]SL (8[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]2) foam, were actually a 7.5 wt% sucrose ester (SE, 10[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]0) foam, without addition of lecithin. In addition, the picture at >70 °C was taken at 65 °C. By relating the wrong picture to the SE[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]SL (8[thin space (1/6-em)]:[thin space (1/6-em)]2), Prof. Patel set-up a theory concluding that the combination works better, which is in fact not the case, referring back to the original data.”

Signed: Jeanne Andres, Executive Editor, Food & Function

Date: 3rd February 2020

Ashok Patel does not agree with this retraction.

References

  1. Kinga Karp, Fabrication and characterization of arrested non-aqueous foam, Ghent University, 2015–2016 Search PubMed .

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