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Edible Applications of Ethylcellulose Oleogels

The unique process of structuring highly unsaturated liquid oils into solid gels makes oleogels an intriguing prospect for the replacement of solid fats for the reduction of saturated and trans fatty acids in foods. Solid fat replacement is currently a major concern for the food industry owing to changing regulations and health recommendations to significantly reduce these fatty acids in the diet. Ethylcellulose is of particular interest due to being approved as a food additive. This is a polymer that undergoes a glass transition at temperatures of approximately 140 °C, at which point it becomes soluble in organic solvents and lipophilic materials. Oil gelation results as the mixture is once again cooled, and the resultant product is known as an oleogel. Another benefit of using ethylcellulose oleogels in food is the ability to control their mechanical strength by adjusting known parameters during the gel formulation and production. In vitro models have suggested that digestion of weak ethylcellulose oleogels is not significantly different from that of liquid oils. In contrast, stronger ethylcellulose oleogels demonstrate a reduced extent of lipolysis as compared to liquid oils, presenting potential for the delivery and controlled release of lipophilic nutraceuticals. The use of ethylcellulose oleogels as a solid fat replacement has been documented in high-fat, soft-texture products. Additionally, incorporation of ethylcellulose can mitigate the common problem of oil migration or oil leakage in oil-containing products such as cookies and cream fillings.

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20 Sep 2017
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