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EP/J501700/1 - edible Pickering Emulsion Technology (ePET)

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Professor IT Norton EP/J501700/1 - edible Pickering Emulsion Technology (ePET)

Principal Investigator - Chemical Engineering, University of Birmingham

Other Investigators

Dr S Bakalis, Co InvestigatorDr S Bakalis

Dr F Spyropoulos, Co InvestigatorDr F Spyropoulos


Technology Programme

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Grant Description

Summary and Description of the grant

Obesity is placing an increasing burden on health services as well as lowering life quality; the direct cost of obesity to NHS
is £4.2bn (£16bn indirect costs), forecasted by Foresight to more than double (and to reach £50bn indirect costs) by 2050.
Healthy foods can help ease this strain, however consumers still expect these to provide a pleasurable eating experience.
This requires formulation of food products of "invisibly" reduced fat, identical in taste and "convenience" to their full-fat
counterparts. Reduced-fat healthy foods based on double emulsions could achieve just that. Nonetheless uses of double
emulsion technology in foods are absent due to technological issues in need of break-through innovation. This project
proposes the design, development and ability to manufacture novel, multifunctional, high value, Pickering-stabilised double
emulsions for the development of foods specifically formulated with reference to fat reduction.

At a conceptual level, double emulsions offer enormous potential in the development of healthy foods; namely because
they impart an "unperceived" fat reduction in foods but also by "invisibly" carrying and delivering nutrients and bioactives
without compromising on taste. Although "simple" emulsions are well-established systems in many commercial areas
(including foods), science and technological knowledge are not yet available to allow double emulsions to be commercially
produced. To achieve this, innovation is needed to overcome processing and stability issues currently associated with
double emulsions; (a) Processing issues: double emulsions are produced by a 2-step emulsification process. However the
2nd step can "damage" the primary structure resulting in inconsistent emulsions, and thus double structures that are prone
to destabilisation (Ostwald ripening). (b) Stability issues: double emulsions are stabilised by at least two low molecular
weight surfactants. These tend to migrate between the two opposit curved interfaces, eventually leading to the collapse
of the double structure. This destabilisation process is accelerated by Laplace pressure and chemical potential differences
between the two aqueous phases of the double structure. This collaborative R&D project will address these important
technological challenges; namely the ability to produce double emulsions consistently through a range of processes, to
deliver double emulsions with long-term stability and to formulate these complex microstructures with significantly reduced
emulsifier levels. Evidence from the University of Birmingham suggests that both the processing and stability issues
currently associated with double emulsions can be potentially addressed by the use of Pickering particles. However edible
structures that can be used as Pickering particles are currently unavailable. This project will deliver both the formulation
design rules and processing routes in order to manufacture stable edible Pickering particles. The proposed project
programme is carefully designed to quickly recognise potential edible Pickering particles and edible Pickering double
emulsions "technologies" for use in prototype manufacture, to scale-up the processes to produce these and finally to
sensorially evaluate the manufactured prototypes and establish whether they can deliver acceptable fat-reduced food

The project team provides a unique and synergistic offering which will catalyse different thinking, approaches and pave the
way for innovation, through understanding of surface chemistries, advances in process engineering, measurement and
characterisation. The proposed research program involves the University of Birmingham (UoB), Cargill and Unilever. The technology developed and understanding gained from this collaboration will enable many new applications and foods to
reach the market, with IPR from this project also expected to be commercially innovative.

Structured Data / Microdata

Grant Event Details:
Name: edible Pickering Emulsion Technology (ePET) - EP/J501700/1
Start Date: 2012-08-21T00:00:00+02:00
End Date: 2015-08-20T00:00:00+02:00

Organization: University of Birmingham

Description: Obesity is placing an increasing burden on health services as well as lowering life quality; the direct cost of obesity to NHS is £4.2bn (£16bn indirect costs), forecasted by Foresight to more than double (and to reach £50bn indirect costs) by 2050. H ...