Oil-in-water Pickering emulsions via microfluidization with cellulose nanocrystals: 1. Formation and stability

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Research units

  • University of Massachusetts Boston


Oil-in-water Pickering emulsions were successfully prepared via high-energy microfluidization using cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) as interfacial stabilizers. The influence of microfluidization pressure, CNC concentration, and oil type on droplet size and emulsion stability was determined. Under optimized homogenization conditions, CNC formed and stabilized emulsions based on corn, fish, sunflower, flax, orange, and MCT oils. The droplet size decreased with increasing microfluidization pressure from 9 to 17 kpsi, but then increased slightly at 19 kpsi. The creaming stability of the emulsions increased with CNC concentration, which was mainly attributed to the decrease in droplet size (mean particle diameter < 1 μm at CNC-to-oil ratios greater than 1:10) and slightly increased viscosity. The Pickering emulsions were stable to droplet coalescence, presumably due to strong electrostatic and steric repulsions between the lipid droplets carrying adsorbed nanoparticles. The Pickering emulsions had good stability over a range of environmental stresses: pH 3 to 10; NaCl ≤ 100 mM; temperature from 30 to 90 °C. Droplet flocculation was, however, observed under more acidic conditions (pH 2) and at high ionic strength (200–500 mM NaCl), owing to electrostatic screening. Our results indicate that microfluidization is an effective method for forming CNC-stabilized Pickering emulsions suitable for utilization in the food industry.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)699-708
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • Cellulose nanocrystals, Environmental stress, Food emulsion, High stability, Microfluidization

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