Emulsifier Composition of Solid Lipid Nanoparticles (SLN) Affects Mechanical and Barrier Properties of SLN-Protein Composite Films
Protein films can be applied to improve food quality and to reduce packaging waste. To overcome their poor water barrier properties, lipids are often incorporated. The function of incorporated lipid depends on the interface between filler and matrix. This study aimed to tailor the properties of a protein-lipid film by designing the oil/water interface to see if the concept of inactive/active filler is valid. Therefore, we varied the emulsifier stabilizing solid lipid nanoparticles (SLN) to promote (via β-lactoglobulin) or to minimize (via Tween 20) interactions between particle surface and protein. SLN were incorporated into protein films and film properties were determined. Addition of SLN led to significantly decreased water vapor permeability (WVP) of protein films. However, WVP was mainly affected by the emulsifiers and not by the lipid. Protein-stabilized SLN (BS) replaced a lacking protein in the protein network and therefore did not influence the mechanical properties of the films at ambient temperature. BS-composite films were temperature sensitive, as lipid and sucrose palmitate melted at temperatures above 40 °C. Tween 20-stabilized SLN (TS) led to reduced tensile strengths, probably due to perturbative effects of TS and plasticizing effects of Tween 20. Dynamic mechanical analysis showed that TS and Tween 20 increased film mobility. Melting of lipid and emulsifiers, and temperature-dependent behavior of Tween 20 led to a strong temperature dependence of the film stiffness. By designing the interface, particles can be used to tailor mechanical properties of protein films. Tuned edible films could be used to control mass transfers between foods.