Wacker Highlights Emulsifying, Soluble Fiber Properties of Alpha-Cyclodextrin

September 21, 2012

The company’s alpha-cyclodextrin can create oil-in-water emulsions that remain stable, even at high temperatures.

Ingredients supplier Wacker (Munich, Germany) highlighted the emulsifying and dietary fiber properties of its cyclodextrin ingredient at the recent Food Ingredients South America trade show.

First off, the company’s alpha-cyclodextrin can create oil-in-water emulsions that remain stable, even at high temperatures, making it well suited for products such as salad dressings and mayonnaise, dessert creams, and margarine. As the company explains:

Traditional emulsifiers include mono- and diglycerides of fatty acids, the lecithins found in egg yolk, or proteins. However, animal-based emulsifiers can have some critical disadvantages-they can be sensitive to heat and acids, do not have a long shelf life, may contain cholesterol, and are potentially allergenic. Alpha-cyclodextrins offer an alternative solution. The molecule has a doughnut-shaped structure with a lipophilic (i.e., fat-loving) interior and a hydrophilic (i.e., water-loving) exterior. Fatty acid groups can “slip” into the interior of the alpha-cyclodextrin and form a surfactant structure, similar to an emulsifier. This complex permanently stabilizes the otherwise incompatible oil/water phase interfaces of the emulsion-even at high processing temperatures.

Additionally, says Wacker, these ring-shaped molecules, which are bioengineered from starch such as corn or potatoes, can also add texture to formulations.

Finally, alpha-cyclodextin may act as a soluble fiber in products such as dairy or breakfast cereals, and may contribute benefits to cholesterol and glycemic index.