Physical and interfacial characterization of phytosterols in oil-in-water triacylglycerol-based emulsions

Lisa M. Zychowski, Srinivas Mettu, Raymond R. Dagastine, Alan L. Kelly, James A. O'Mahony, Mark A.E. Auty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Phytosterols possess the ability to significantly lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels in the blood, but their bioaccessibility is highly dependent upon the solubility of the phytosterol within the carrier matrix. Currently, there is a limited amount of knowledge on how phytosterols interact at oil-water interfaces, despite research indicating that these interfaces could promote the crystallization of phytosterols and thus decrease bioaccessibility. In order to fill this knowledge gap, this work expands upon a previously studied emulsion system for encapsulating phytosterols and addresses whether phytosterols can crystalize at an oil-in-water emulsion interface. Images from multiple microscopic techniques suggest interfacial phytosterol crystallization in 0.6% phytosterol-enriched emulsions, while interfacial tension results and calculated models showed that whey protein and phytosterols had a synergistic effect on interfacial tension. A deeper understanding of the interfacial behavior of phytosterols in emulsions can provide the functional food and pharmaceutical industry with the knowledge needed to design more bioaccessible phytosterol-enriched products.

Original languageBritish English
Article number100101
JournalFood Structure
StatePublished - Jan 2019


  • Bioactive
  • Emulsion
  • Functional foods
  • Interfacial tension
  • LDL cholesterol
  • Microscopy
  • Phytosterols
  • Plant sterols
  • β-sitosterol


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