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Andalusian researchers produce an alternative emulsion to mayonnaise with whey butter

Andalusian researchers from the University of Huelva, the University of Seville, the Instituto de la Grasa of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) and Corporación Alimentaria Peñasanta have produced an emulsion similar to mayonnaise with buttermilk, or whey butter, obtained as a by-product when milk is skimmed. It is a research line resulting from the Spanish PETRI project (it stands for ‘Proyecto Estímulo Transferencia Resultado de Investigación’, project to encourage the transfer of research results).

Butter milk has a high protein content with important emulsifying properties. This is why mixing this product with oil and water properly, you obtain an emulsion that is similar to mayonnaise.

According to Dr. José María Franco, from the Department of Chemistry Engineering, Physical Chemistry and Organic Chemistry of the University of Huelva, ‘this emulsion has two advantages: on the one hand, as eggs are not used the cholesterol problems are eliminated; and on the other hand, buttermilk, a by-product of skimmed milk considered as having a low value, is used’.

Throughout the development of this project, each research organization has applied its own technologies of emulsification, as well as the physical-chemical ones of emulsions. Therefore, the physical characterization and the analysis of the properties of viscosity, elasticity and texture of the emulsion were analysed by the University of Huelva. In addition to this, the processing variables were controlled in order to obtain information about the quantity of powder that needed to be added so that all the emulsion elements were homogeneously and ideally dispersed.

The University of Seville and the Instituto de la Grasa have studied the chemical composition of this compound and have optimised the formula to get to know the appropriate quantity of buttermilk, water and oil.

However, for Dr. José María Franco one of the most important issues of this project is the sensorial characterization. This is why a team of expert tasters was trained and provided with emulsion samples to evaluate which of them were the most similar ones to the mayonnaise brands that are currently sold.

The result of the PETRI project is a patent that different research organizations have applied for that consists of a range of possible concentrations and possible processing conditions so as to produce this buttermilk-based emulsion.

Ismael Gaona | alfa
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