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To increase the water solubility of zein as a stabilizing agent for oil-in-water (O/W) emulsions, three zein-polyglycerol (Zein-PG) conjugates, Zein-PG-2, Zein-PG-6, and Zein-PG-10, were prepared by dehydration between zein and polyglycerol aldehydes obtained by NaIO4 oxidation of polyglycerol-2, -6, and -10 and characterized by free amine content, grafting degree, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and fluorescence spectra. All conjugates dispersed in water as nanoparticles were verified by transmission electron microscopy. Conjugation with PG changed the isoelectric point of zein from 6.2 to 6.8 and to 4.0. Zein-PG-6 and Zein-PG-10 showed strong stabilization on the O/W emulsions with 18-fold loading of soybean oil on the basis of conjugate mass, displaying high oil loading capacity. Confocal laser scanning microscopy (CLSM) confirmed the O/W structure of emulsions and that the absorption of Zein-PG-10 on the oil droplet surface offered the driving force to be stable. The present Zein-PG conjugates thus produced an enticing resource for use as nanocarriers or bioemulsifiers in food or pharmaceutical industries.


Shuangshuang Huang, Junbo He, Lijuan Han, Hong Lin, Gang Liu, Weinong Zhang. Zein-Polyglycerol Conjugates with Enhanced Water Solubility and Stabilization of High Oil Loading Emulsion. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry. 2020 Oct 21;68(42):11810-11816

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PMID: 32991806

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