The adsorption of charged particles to hydrogel surfaces is important in a number of natural and industrial processes. In this study, the adsorption of cationic lipid droplets to the surfaces of anionic hydrogels was examined. An oil-in-water emulsion containing cationic β-lactoglobulin-coated lipid droplets was prepared (d32 = 0.24 μm, ζ = +74 mV, pH 3.0). An anionic hydrogel containing 0.1 wt % beet pectin and 1.5 wt % agar (pH 3.0) was prepared. Emulsions containing different lipid droplet concentrations (0.3−5 wt %) were brought into contact with the hydrogel surfaces for different times (0−24 h). The adsorption of lipid droplets to the hydrogel surfaces could not be explained by a typical adsorption isotherm. We found that the electrical charge on the nonadsorbed lipid droplets became less positive or even became negative in the presence of the hydrogel and that extensive droplet aggregation occurred, which was attributed to the ability of pectin molecules to diffuse through the hydrogels and interact with the lipid droplets. These results may have important consequences for understanding certain industrial and biological processes, as well as for the design of controlled or triggered release systems.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/djulian_mcclements/99/