The study published in the Journal of Food Science compared the use of hydrocolloids against water, oil, emulsion and sucrose for adhering toppings to crackers.
Gellan gum, kappa-carrageenan, methylcellulose, gum karaya, gum tragacanth, gum arabic, guar gum, modified starch and maltodextrin were all tested.
Findings showed that hydrocolloids could either improve or entirely replace traditional adhesive ingredients like oil and sugar for flavored powders and sodium chloride (NaCl) on crackers.
“For NaCl, barbecue, ranch, and sour cream & onion seasoning, hydrocolloids improved the adhesion over using water alone, with gellan gum providing the greatest adhesion… For cheese powder, hydrocolloids were capable of replacing the oil within an emulsion while improving or maintaining the same level of adhesion, with gum arabic providing the greatest adhesion,” the researchers wrote.
The improved adhesiveness was a result of the hydrocolloid structural differences like the absence of branching, substitution of sugar units and molecular weight affecting water binding and thickening of the hydrocolloid spray, the said.
However, for cocoa powder the hydrocolloids proved ineffective. The scientists said this was due to the differences in hydrophilicity that result in insolubility.
Fat reduction bonus
While sugar and oil and have used traditionally to adhere seasonings, “consumer interest in low- or no-fat and calorie products means there is an interest in discovering alternatives”, the researchers said.
Therefore the use of hydrocolloids instead would be of interest to industry as the fat content and calories would be reduced, they said.
Hydrocolloid types and concentrations
“Hydrocolloid type affected adhesion improvement for NaCl, sour cream & onion, ranch and barbecue seasoning,” the researchers wrote.
For fine salt, gellan gum and kappa-carrageenan gave the greatest adhesion at 90% and 89% respectively, followed by methylcellulose at 84%, gum karaya at 79%, gum tragacanth at 77%, gum arabic at 70%, and guar gum at 66% adhesion.
“Coarse NaCl, sour cream & onion, ranch and barbecue seasoning generally followed the same trend as fine NaCl, but with lower overall adhesion,” they said.
Gum arabic was the best hydrocolloid for both cheese powders.
The optimal concentration for the hydrocolloids in terms of adhesive properties was 0.5%, with the exceptions of methylcellulose that was better at higher concentrations and guar gum better at lower concentrations.
The researchers also noted that increasing the molecular weight of the hydrocolloids increased adhesion.
Source: Journal of Food Science
Online ahead of print, doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.12266
“Improving Adhesion of Seasonings to Crackers with Hydrocolloid Solutions”
Authors: ME. Armstrong and SA. Barringer