Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Casein/hydrocolloid systems as functional ingredients

Dairy proteins, in particular casein and caseinates, are widely used as functional food ingredients. However, new applications, such as fat replacers in reduced-fat products, bring additional textural requirements. The project develops and enhances the functionality and potential use of caseinates through interactions with other food hydrocolloids. This will help protein manufacturers to develop new markets for their products which are currently coming under pressure from competing vegetable proteins and economic changes. Some results from the project are as follows. Caseinate/gelatin combinations can be exploited in reduced-fat foods as they generate 'body' and creaminess attributes. Caseinate (1.5%)/gelatin (0.5%) mixtures are potentially useful for making reduced-fat yoghurts with a 'high fat' texture. Caseinate/starch mixtures can be used in high temperature processed products in which the starch component is normally required to be resistant to swelling and to become hydrated at only high temperatures. Other potential applications include reduced-fat yoghurts and mayonnaise-type dressings, and in dairy puddings. Caseinates have the effect of accelerating the setting process of maltodextrins and so maltodextrins can be induced to form gels at concentrations lower than their minimum concentrations for setting. This property could be exploited in spreads, dressings and creams. Caseinate/pectin solutions from weak gel systems have been used to make spoonable dressings as a replacement for egg yolk and starch. The dressings are also freeze-thaw stable. There is considerable scope for varying texture and mouthfeel by manipulation of the composition in caseinate/pectin systems. These are likely to find application in acidic products such as sauces, dressings and certain kinds of acidified milk products. The research on casein/carrageenan interactions is relevant to applications in dairy-based foods and beverages in which carrageenans are used to generate network structures, which stabilise multiphase dispersions.