Bovine milk has been an important source of food for human beings for thousands of years. Not only is milk a very nutritious food in its own right, but it is also a very versatile starting point for many other dairy products. Milk is a complex food emulsion and colloidal sol. Table 7.1 gives the composition of whole cow's milk. The emulsion is composed of fat droplets dispersed in an aqueous phase containing protein. The protein is in the form of both casein micelles, which are themselves colloidal particles, and free in solution as whey protein. A considerable reserve of knowledge has been assembled on the structure and properties of milk proteins (Swaisgood, 1992). The fat droplets are stabilized by an adsorbed layer of protein and phospholipid called the 'milk fat globule membrane' (MFGM), which is distinct from the aqueous phase protein (Walstra & Jenness, 1984). The average composition of the MFGM has been estimated to be about 48% protein, 33% phospholipid, and 11% water, with the remainder made up of other minor lipid components (Walstra & Jenness, 1984). The phospholipid fraction of the membrane is composed of lecithin, phosphatidyl ethanolamine, phosphatidyl serine, phosphatidyl inositide, plasmalogens and sphingomyelin. Phospholipids are important food emulsifiers in their own right. The contribution that they make to the stability of the milk fat globule is not well understood, but their use as food-grade emulsifiers has been the subject of extensive fundamental research (Courthaudon et al., 1991; Dickinson et al., 1993a; Dickinson & Iveson, 1993). To control the structure and stability of these products, the manufacturer can add a range of permitted additives that can be either naturally occurring or artificial. One of the most versatile of these additives are the low molecular weight emulsifiers. In the following pages, the major emulsifier-containing dairy and imitation dairy products will be reviewed. A brief description of their production will be given where relevant, with emphasis on the role that emulsifiers play in the formation and stability of the product.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science(all)