Ampipathic lecithin

Lecithin’s talent comes from its amphipathic nature.(1) The compound’s hydrophilic polar head dissolves in water while its hydrophobic polar tail dissolves in the triglycerides, thus, acting in a way of suspending triglycerides in water.(1p568)

As an emulsifier in ice cream, lecithin keeps ice cream smooth with fat globules evenly distributed throughout the solution.(2) It serves to bring fat and ice crystals together, which normally don’t mix. Before commercial lecithin was available, egg yolks were used.(2)

Another useful application:

Want to know how to make your own salt air foam to a homemade margarita? The secret is soy lecithin. You can buy it at any health food store and mix about a teaspoon with water, salt and lime juice.

Reference

1. Denniston, KJ, Topping, JJ & Caret, RL. General, Organic, And Biochemistry, 5th ed. New York: McGraw Hill; 2007, p568.

2. Halford, B. Ice cream: The finer points of physical chemistry and flavor release make this favorite treat so sweet. Science & Technology. 2004;82(45):51. Available at: http://pubs.acs.org/cen/whatstuff/stuff/8245icecream.html. Accessed on November 1, 2008.

Published by David Despain, MS, CFS

David is a science and health writer living on Long Island, New York. He's written for a variety of publications including Scientific American, Outside Online, the American Society for Nutrition's (ASN) Nutrition Notes Daily, and Institute of Food Technologists' (IFT) Food Technology magazine and Live! blog. He's also covered new findings reported at scientific meetings including Experimental Biology, AAAS, AOCS, CASW, Sigma Xi, IFT, and others on his personal blog "Evolving Health." David is also an active member of organizations including the National Association of Science Writers (NASW), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute of Food Technologists, and the National Audubon Society. David has a master's degree in human nutrition from the University of Bridgeport, and a bachelor's degree in English from University of Illinois at Springfield. He also earned his Certified Food Scientist credential from the Institute of Food Technologists.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: