Probiotics with positive physiological effects on intestinal microflora populations of the host are popular in functional foods. Low relative humidity (RH) and temperature are beneficial for probiotic survival. In the present study, freeze-dried Lactobacillus plantarum powder, representative of probiotics, was encapsulated in the high internal phase emulsions (HIPEs) stabilized with whey protein isolate (WPI) microgels, to avoid the contact of water. Homogeneously dispersed WPI microgels with particle sizes around 300 nm were formed through thermal treatment of WPI solution. The particle size of the microgels decreased with the elevation of protein concentrations as well as the departure of pH values from the isoelectric point of the protein. When internal oil phase volume fractions were higher than 80% (w/w), WPI microgels with concentrations higher than 4.0 wt %, prepared at pH 4.0, 6.0, and 7.0 conditions, could stabilize the oil to form homogeneous HIPEs with tilting stability. The HIPEs thus formed had a cellular and tunable pore structure that could resist mechanical perturbation. Encapsulation of L. plantarum within HIPEs successfully increased the cell viability after pasteurization processing. The protective effect was even improved with the elevation of the oil volume fraction and increase of WPI microgel concentrations. Under different pH conditions, the strongest protective effect appeared at pH 4.0, when the WPI microgels accumulated on the oil droplet surface. When the large amount of oil and the protein microgel layer on the oil-water interface were combined as two specialties, the HIPEs were demonstrated to have high potential for enhancing the viability of probiotics during food thermal processing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Lactobacillus plantarum
- high internal phase emulsion
- intestinal microflora
- whey protein isolate