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What Will Affect the Function of Thickeners?

What Will Affect the Function of Thickeners?


Thickeners in foods are mainly used to increase the viscosity of foods or form gels and maintain the relative stability of the system, thereby changing the physical properties of the foods, giving the foods a sticky and suitable mouthfeel. Thickeners are substances that have the effects of emulsification, stabilization, or suspension. One of the important functions of thickeners in food processing is to use their viscosity to maintain the stability and uniformity of products. 

Ⅰ. The influence of structure and relative molecular weight on the viscosity of thickeners

Generally, thickeners are substances that easily form a network structure or have more hydrophilic groups in the solution and have a higher viscosity. As the relative molecular mass increases, the probability of forming a network structure also increases. Therefore, the greater the molecular mass of the thickener, the greater the viscosity.

Ⅱ. The influence of concentration on the viscosity of thickeners

As the concentration of thickener increases, the probability of interaction increases; the attached water molecules increase, and the viscosity increases.

Ⅲ. The influence of PH on the viscosity of thickeners

The pH value of the medium has a very close relationship with the viscosity and stability of the thickeners. In soda, yogurt and other foods with higher acidity, it is advisable to choose thickeners such as propylene glycol alginate and xanthan gum. Their larger or more side chains has benefits of larger steric hindrance, and it is not easy to occur hydrolyzation. While sodium alginate and CMC (sodium carboxymethyl cellulose) are suitable for use in soy milk and other close to neutral foods.

Ⅳ. The influence of temperature on the viscosity of thickeners

As the temperature increases, the viscosity of the general solution decreases. When a small amount of sodium chloride is present, the thickness of xanthan gum changes little in the range of -4~+93℃, which is a special case of thickeners.


Ⅴ. The influence of shear force on the viscosity of thickener solution

The role of shear force is to reduce the interaction force between the dispersed particles. This force is large, and the structural viscosity is reduced.

Ⅵ. Synergistic effect of thickeners

The thickeners in food additives with a better synergistic effect are 

  • CMC (sodium carboxymethyl cellulose) and gelatin; 

  • carrageenan, guar gum and CMC (sodium carboxymethyl cellulose); 

  • agar and acacia bean gum; 

  • xanthan gum and locust bean gum, etc.

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