Food Hydrogels: Synthesis, Characterization and Applications

A special issue of Gels (ISSN 2310-2861). This special issue belongs to the section "Gel Chemistry and Physics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 December 2024 | Viewed by 1299

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Chemistry, Universitat de Barcelona, Martí i Franquès, 1, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: colloids; rheology; nanoemulsions; encapsulation; hydrogels; edible films; controlled release

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Chemistry, Universitat de Barcelona, Martí i Franquès, 1, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: rheology; nanoemulsions; encapsultation; hydrogels; edible films; controlled release

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Food hydrogels are materials that consist of a three-dimensional network structure that can hold a large amount of water within their matrix. These hydrogels have gained significant attention in the food industry due to their properties and potential applications. They are typically made from polymers such as proteins (gelatin, soy protein, whey protein), polysaccharides (agar, alginate, pectin, carrageenan, pullulan) and other natural polymers. The primary function of food hydrogels is the property of moisture retention. Hydrogels can be used to modify the texture of various products. They can contribute to the creaminess, viscosity and mouthfeel of foods, making them useful in creating products such as gels, creams and foams. They can also be designed to encapsulate nutrients, flavors and bioactive compounds. This enables controlled release upon consumption, which can enhance the nutritional profile and sensory experience of the food. By providing a stable environment for encapsulation ingredients, food hydrogels can help to extend the shelf life of products and protect sensitive compounds from degradation due to environmental factors such as temperature, oxygen and light. Therefore, hydrogels can contribute to the development of functional foods with specific health benefits. For example, hydrogels can be used to deliver probiotics or other bioactive compounds to promote good health.

In recent years, researchers and food manufacturers have been exploring the potential of food hydrogels to create healthier, more appealing, and more sustainable food products. The field is constantly evolving as new materials and techniques are developed.

Thus, this Special Issue on Food Hydrogels: Synthesis, Characterization and Applications will showcase research papers and review articles exploring topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Structure and composition
  • Synthesis and characterization of food hydrogels
  • Functional foods based on hydrogels
  • Hydrogels improving stability and food shelf extension
  • Controlled release of nutrients
  • Food texture modification

Dr. Esther Santamaría
Prof. Dr. González Azón Carme
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Gels is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • food hydrogels
  • natural biopolymers
  • controlled release nutrients
  • rheological characterization
  • texture modification
  • shelf life extension
  • functional food

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

15 pages, 3273 KiB  
Article
Formation of Microcapsules of Pullulan by Emulsion Template Mechanism: Evaluation as Vitamin C Delivery Systems
by Esther Santamaría, Naroa Lizarreta, Susana Vílchez, Carme González and Alicia Maestro
Gels 2024, 10(6), 355; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels10060355 - 21 May 2024
Viewed by 133
Abstract
Pullulan is a polysaccharide that has attracted the attention of scientists in recent times as a former of edible films. On the other hand, its use for the preparation of hydrogels needs more study, as well as the formation of pullulan microcapsules as [...] Read more.
Pullulan is a polysaccharide that has attracted the attention of scientists in recent times as a former of edible films. On the other hand, its use for the preparation of hydrogels needs more study, as well as the formation of pullulan microcapsules as active ingredient release systems for the food industry. Due to the slow gelation kinetics of pullulan with sodium trimetaphosphate (STMP), capsules cannot be formed through the conventional method of dropping into a solution of the gelling agent, as with other polysaccharides, since the pullulan chains migrate to the medium before the capsules can form by gelation. Pullulan microcapsules have been obtained by using inverse water-in-oil emulsions as templates. The emulsion that acts as a template has been characterized by monitoring its stability and by optical microscopy, and the size of the emulsion droplets has been correlated with the size of the microcapsules obtained, demonstrating that it is a good technique for their production. Although some flocs of droplets form, these remain dispersed during the gelation process and two capsule size distributions are obtained: those of the non-flocculated droplets and the flocculated droplets. The microcapsules have been evaluated as vitamin C release systems, showing zero-order release kinetics for acidic pH and Fickian mechanism for neutral pH. On the other hand, the microcapsules offer good protection of vitamin C against oxidation during an evaluation period of 14 days. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Hydrogels: Synthesis, Characterization and Applications)
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13 pages, 4270 KiB  
Article
Alginate-Based Emulsions and Hydrogels for Extending the Shelf Life of Banana Fruit
by Silvio Iacovino, Martina Cofelice, Elena Sorrentino, Francesca Cuomo, Maria Cristina Messia and Francesco Lopez
Gels 2024, 10(4), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/gels10040245 - 3 Apr 2024
Viewed by 840
Abstract
Edible coatings are used to extend the shelf life of various fruit, including bananas (Musa from the Musaceae family). After harvest, bananas reach the ripening and subsequent senescence phase. During senescence, the quality of the fruit deteriorates as it takes on a [...] Read more.
Edible coatings are used to extend the shelf life of various fruit, including bananas (Musa from the Musaceae family). After harvest, bananas reach the ripening and subsequent senescence phase. During senescence, the quality of the fruit deteriorates as it takes on a brown color and the tissue becomes soft. To extend the shelf life of such a fruit, effective methods to delay ripening are required. In this study, an alginate-based emulsion, i.e., an oil-in-water emulsion of lemongrass essential oil in alginate, was used to combine the mechanical properties of hydrocolloids with the water barrier properties of the oil phase. The emulsion was sprayed onto the whole fruit with an airbrush, and calcium chloride was added to promote gelling of the alginate. Compared to the uncoated fruit, coated bananas remained uniform in appearance (peel color) for longer, showed less weight loss, had a delay in the formation of total soluble solids, and in the consumption of organic acids. The shelf life of the coated fruit was extended by up to 11 days, at least 5 days more than uncoated bananas. Overall, the proposed coating could be suitable for reducing the global amount of food waste. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Food Hydrogels: Synthesis, Characterization and Applications)
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