Oleogels based on sterols such as β-sitosterol blended with the sterol ester γ-oryzanol are a very interesting class of systems, but there are aspects of their formation and structure that remain elusive. It has previously been shown that a methyl group on the C30 position of the sterol-ester plays an important role in gelation. This work explored the effect that having C30 methyl groups on both the sterol and the sterol-ester had on the gelation process and subsequent gel structure. Lanosterol and saponified γ-oryzanol (which was synthesized as part of this study) were identified as materials of interest, as both feature a methyl group on the C30 position of their steroidal cores. It was observed that both sterols formed gels when blended with γ-oryzanol, and also that lanosterol gelled sunflower oil without the addition of γ-oryzanol. All of these gels were significantly weaker than that formed by β-sitosterol blended with γ-oryzanol. To explore why, molecular docking simulations along with AFM and SAXS were used to examine these gels on a broad range of length scales. The results suggest that saponified γ-oryzanol-γ-oryzanol gels have a very similar structure to that of β-sitosterol-γ-oryzanol gels. Lanosterol-γ-oryzanol gels and pure lanosterol gel, however, form with a totally different structure facilitated by the head-to-tail stacking motif exhibited by lanosterol. These results give further evidence that relatively slight changes to the molecular structure of gelators can result in significant differences in subsequent gel properties.
- fat substitutes
- nutraceuticals/functional foods
- structure–functional properties
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Organic Chemistry