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Investigation of the emusifying properties of bambara groundnut flour and starch
Gabriel, Ebunoluwa Grace
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A number of foods, pharmaceutical and industrial products are formulated as emulsions. The immiscibility of oil and water makes emulsions thermodynamically unstable, thus requiring emulsifiers. Natural and synthetic substances have been used as emulsifiers with preference for the former for safety, cost and availability purposes. Bambara groundnut (BGN) is an important source of nutrient in many African communities. Similar to soybean, flaxseed, and other leguminous products, the important blend of high protein and carbohydrate composition of BGN makes it a potential candidate as an emulsifier where, it can serve additional nutritional role in such emulsions. No literature evidence exists to support any earlier study on the potential emulsifying property of BGN. It is therefore of interest to investigate the potential of BGN flour (BGNF) and starch (BGNS) in stabilizing oil-in-water emulsions. The current study aimed to investigate the emulsifying properties of Bambara groundnut flour and starch. A batch of BGN was milled to produce the BGNF. BGNS was extracted from the BGNF. Emulsions were prepared using a wide range of flour-oil-water and starch-oil-water composition as generated through computational modelling. Emulsions were physically observed for stability, and then subjected to various stability studies using the Turbiscan® (which gives kinetic information on the process leading to phase separation; and allows for the detection of two kinds of destabilisation phenomena (particle migration): creaming and sedimentation) and optical microscope (which helps to detect particle size variation or aggregation in order to measure coalescence and/or flocculation). The most stable emulsions (one BGNF-stabilized and the other BGNS-stabilzed) were determined and subjected to same stability studies in the presence of varying physicochemical and physic-mechanical environmental conditions: effects of homogenization speed (9,000 – 21,000 rpm), pH (2 - 10), the presence of salt (2 – 10% w/v NaCl) and vinegar (2 – 10% v/v). Results were expressed in terms of relative stability (using creaming/sedimentation rate) and absolute oil droplet growth (coalescence and flocculation). The emulsifier-oil compositions (emulsifier and water make 100 mL gelatinized mixture before the addition of oil) that gave the most stable emulsions were 9 g BGNF-39 g oil and 5 g BGNS-30 g oil. The two emulsions had only 15% and 30% growth in oil droplet diameter respectively by day 5, compared to over 3000% in the unstable ones. The emulsions were generally observed physically to be stable till day 5 with minimal creaming. Emulsions prepared with BGNS were physically observed to have increasing viscosity with time. There was microbial growth on the emulsions after 3 days. This might have been encouraged because of the rich nutritional composition of BGN. The stability of the emulsions increased significantly (p < 0.05) with the speed of homogenization (up to 15, 000 rpm beyond which the difference in stability was not significant). Compared to control (pH 7), emulsion stability decreased significantly (p < 0.05) with decreasing (up to 16% instability by Day-5 at pH 2) and increasing pH (10% instability at pH 10) with corresponding increase in droplet size. Emulsion stability increased significantly (p < 0.05) with increasing NaCl concentration (35% instability at 2% NaCl compared to 18% instability at 10% NaCl). Stability however decreased sharply with increasing concentration of vinegar (55% instability at 10% vinegar compared to 19% instability at 2% vinegar). The BGNF-stabilized emulsions were more stable (ordinarily and in the presence of the additives) than the BGNS-stabilized ones. Instability values in the BGNS emulsions, in most cases, double those for BGNF. Emulsions were successfully stabilized with BGNF and BGNS. The emulsions were optimal when prepared at a homogenization speed of 15,000 rpm and at neutral pH. The higher the concentration of salt, the more stable the emulsions. Increasing concentration of vinegar however, destabilized the emulsions.