Justice Asomaning and Jonathan M. Curtis.
Lipid Chemistry Group, Department of Agricultural, Food and Nutritional Science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Lecithin is a widely used food emulsifier but most commercial food lecithin is sourced from soybeans. The development of viable alternatives to soy lecithin from sources such as egg or canola is important. However, agriculture-derived lecithin extracted from eggs or oilseeds is typically a sticky semi-solid whose properties are not ideally suited to either supplement or food processing applications. The main objective of this project was to develop processes for the modification of egg lecithin to improve its physical and chemical properties. Egg lecithin was extracted from egg yolk using food grade ethanol. The egg lecithin was then blended with various vegetable oils at different mass ratios and interesterified using immobilized commercially available lipases and phospholipases for up to 72h reaction time. Results showed that simple blending of egg lecithin with vegetable oils resulted in product with two phases (not completely miscible) whereas the interesterifying the same mixture resulted in a single phase liquid product. Additionally, the solid fat content, viscosity and the melting temperature of the enzymatically interesterified product were significantly reduced making it more suited for industrial processing applications.