Why are Emulsions Used in Beverages and Other Liquids?

December 7, 2023

Emulsions in disperse water-insoluble active ingredients, improve bioavailability, and can enhance flavor and mouthfeel in beverage products where stability of the actives is critical. They increase physical stability, preventing ingredient separation, and protect sensitive ingredients from degradation. Additionally, emulsions can offer controlled release of active compounds, enhancing efficacy and may reduce the ingredient amount needed due to improved bioavailability, offering cost benefits. Proper product formulation considering emulsifiers, ingredient interactions, and pH, is the key to stability and product effectiveness.

Why should we measure particle size on emulsions?

Particle size measurement by Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) is vital in assessing emulsion droplet size, playing a crucial role in determining several product attributes. Particle size can be an early indicator of emulsion stability; large or inconsistent sizes often hint at potential separation issues. The change in droplet size over time can be a predictor of product shelf life and highlight stability issues. Additionally, the particle size has a great effect on the the absorption of active ingredients, either optimizing or reducing bioavailability. In essence, measuring particle size gives comprehensive insight into product quality, stability, and overall performance.

What the heck is Zeta Potential?

Zeta potential measures the electrical charge on particles in a dispersion, reflecting their repulsion or attraction. A high or low (< -30mV or >30 mV) absolute value indicates good dispersion stability, as particles repel each other, preventing aggregation. Emulsions can be either positively charged (cationic) or negatively charged (anionic) depending on the head group, or the exterior functional group, of the specific surfactant. If zeta potential is closer to zero (no charge) the likelihood of emulsion coagulation and stability is impacted.

Emulsions/Ingredient Interactions

Emulsions may be stable in concentrated form, but it is critical to not make the assumption that they will be stable when interacting with other ingredients in a beverage product. Diluting emulsions in a beverage can change Particle Size & Zeta Potential drastically by pH changes, ionic strength changes, osmotic effects, and other physical ingredient interactions.

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