Porous starch has flavour delivery potential

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

The researchers used several different delivery systems for a tomato flavour in a model tomato sauce
The researchers used several different delivery systems for a tomato flavour in a model tomato sauce

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Sponge-like porous starch could offer flavour delivery potential on an industrial scale, say researchers.

The development of improved flavour delivery systems in food systems has been of great interest to flavour formulators and food manufacturers in recent years – with the potential of porous corn starch as a flavour carrier often touted as a new way to pack flavours in to a food matrix.

New research, published in LWT - Food Science and Technology​, has now tested the potential of such a delivery mechanism in real world applications – finding that porous starch could have industrial applications.

Led by Claudia Belingheri from Universita' degli Studi di Parma and Kerry Ingredients and Flavors EMEA, the research team noted that until now it has not been clear if porous starch behaves like other more conventional bulking agents, and if its porous nature protects the flavour just as a microencapsulating structure would.

“To the best of the authors' knowledge, there is no study present in literature that shows the performance of porous starch in a real food application, compared to the techniques currently in use for liquid flavour conversion to powder,” ​wrote the team. “Such information would support the flavour industry in the use of this new substrate for carrying flavours.”

By comparing the porous starch delivery system to existing delivery techniques such as spray drying and plating on to maltodextrin, the team found that the starch system has industrial potential as a flavour delivery molecule.

“The advantages of using porous starch would be mainly the lower production costs (simple plating rather than spray drying) and the high liquid to powder ratio achievable (even higher than in spray drying),”​ noted the authors.

Study details

Belingheri and her colleagues compared the use of three different flavour carriers to deliver a tomato flavour in a model tomato sauce.

The liquid tomato flavour was plated onto porous starch, as well as onto maltodextrin, and also spray dried – with the latter being the most common flavour encapsulation technique used by the food flavour industry, noted the team.

These three flavor systems were then added into the tomato sauce that was subjected to sterilisation and ambient storage to verify flavour resistance to sterilization and shelf life - measured by sensory and chemical analyses.

According to the team, all three flavour delivery systems showed a similar flavour content after sterilisation and similar behaviour during shelf-life.

They added that the findings also clearly showed the important role of choice of solvent for carrying liquid flavours onto porous starch; “the higher the affinity between flavor molecules and solvent, in terms of polarity, the higher the flavour retention over time,” ​noted the team.

“The potential application of porous starch as a carrier for flavours was confirmed in an industrial application,”​ concluded the team.

Source: LWT - Food Science and Technology
Volume 60, Issue 1, Pages 593–597, doi: 10.1016/j.lwt.2014.09.047
“Porous starch for flavor delivery in a tomato-based food application”
Authors: Claudia Belingheri, Antonio Ferrillo, Elena Vittadini

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