The objective of this study was to investigate the influence of interfacial composition on the in vitro digestion of emulsified lipids coated by various emulsifiers by pancreatic lipase. Sodium caseinate, whey protein isolate (WPI), lecithin and Tween 20 were used to prepare corn oil-in-water emulsions (3 wt% oil). Pancreatic lipase (1.6 mg/mL) and/or bile extract (5.0 mg/mL) were added to each emulsion and the particle charge, droplet aggregation, microstructure and free fatty acids released were measured. In the absence of bile extract, the amount of free fatty acids released per unit volume of emulsion was much lower for lipid droplets coated by Tween 20 (13 ± 16 μmol ml−1) than those coated by lecithin (75 ± 20 μmol ml−1), sodium caseinate (220 ± 24 μmol ml−1) or WPI (212 ± 6 μmol ml−1). In the presence of bile extract, there was an appreciable increase in the amount of free fatty acids released in all the emulsions, with the most appreciable effects being observed in the Tween 20-stabilized emulsions. The stability of the emulsions to droplet flocculation and coalescence during hydrolysis was also strongly dependent on emulsifier type, with the WPI emulsions being the least stable and the Tween 20 emulsions being the most stable. Our results suggest that the access of pancreatic lipase to emulsified fats decreases in the following order: proteins (caseinate and WPI) > phospholipids (lecithin) > non-ionic surfactants (Tween 20). These results may have important consequences for the design of foods with either increased or decreased lipid bioavailability.
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