Crystallization of fats – Influence of minor components and additives

Smith K.W., Bhaggan K., Talbot G., Van Malssen K.F., Crystallization of fats – Influence of minor components and additives, Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society, 2011, 88(8), 1085-1101

Over the years, there has been a steady stream of publications on the influence that minor components and additives have on the physical properties of fat continuous systems. These have been reviewed here. Both indigenous and added components are taken into account. The various materials have been discussed, ranging from partial glycerides and phospholipids to esterified sugars and polyols. Within the publications in this area, the (sub-)micron effects that these minor components have on nucleation, crystal growth, morphology, heat capacity and polymorphic stability have been described and discussed and, sometimes, explained. Similarly, the effects on a macroscopic level, such as visual aspects, melting profiles, post-hardening and rheology have been the subject of research. Although limited compositional information, especially of additives, hinders appropriate discussions of the relevant mechanisms, some generic guidelines as to what type and strength of effect can be expected have been derived. As a general rule, a more significant influence is observed when the acyl group of the minor component (where present) is similar to those present in the fat itself. Additives may have different effects depending on the fat they are added to, their concentration and the temperature, especially with increasing undercooling (which typically reduces the effect of additives).