Formation of stable nanoparticles via electrostatic complexation between sodium caseinate and gum arabic

Aiqian Ye, John Flanagan, Harjinder Singh
Biopolymers 2006 June 5, 82 (2): 121-33
The formation of electrostatic complexes between sodium caseinate and gum arabic (GA) was studied as a function of pH (2.0-7.0), using slow acidification in situ with glucono-delta-lactone (GDL) or titration with HCl. The colloidal behavior of the complexes under specific conditions was investigated using absorbance measurements (at 515 or 810 nm) and dynamic light scattering (DLS). In contrast to the sudden increase in absorbance and subsequent precipitation of sodium caseinate solutions at pH < 5.4, the absorbance values of mixtures of sodium caseinate and GA increased to a level that was dependent on GA concentration at pH 5.4 (pH(c)). The absorbance values remained constant with further decreases in pH until a sudden increase in absorbance was observed (at pH(phi)). The pH(phi) was also dependent upon the GA concentration. Dynamic light scattering (DLS) data showed that the sizes of the particles formed by the complexation of sodium caseinate and GA between pH(c) and pH(phi) were between 100 and 150 nm and these nanoparticles were visualized using negative staining transmission electron microscopy (TEM). Below pH(phi), the nanoparticles associated to form larger particles, causing phase separation. zeta-Potential measurements of the nanoparticles and chemical analysis after phase separation showed that phase separation was a consequence of charge neutralization. The formation of complexes between sodium caseinate and GA was inhibited at high ionic strength (>50 mM NaCl). It is postulated that the structure of the nanoparticles comprises an aggregated caseinate core, protected from further aggregation by steric repulsion of one, or more, electrostatically attached GA molecules.

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