Effect of fat content and preheat treatment on the apparent viscosity of coconut milk after homogenization

Thitima Peamprasart, Naphaporn Chiewchan
*
Department of Food Engineering, King Mongkut’s University of Technology, Thonburi, Tungkru, Bangkok 10140, Thailand

Abstract This research aimed to study the effect of fat content (15–30%) and preheat temperature (70–90 °C) on the apparent viscosity of coconut milk after homogenization. By using a power-law model, all samples exhibited pseudoplastic behavior with the flow behavior index (n) between 0.713 and 0.930. Overall, the results showed that preheat treatment had a significant effect on the apparent viscosity of coconut milk. At similar fat concentration, an increase in viscosity was observed at higher preheat temperatures. This phenomenon was more pronounced in the samples with increasing fat content. The microscopic study showed that smaller aggregates of fat globules were detected for the sample passing higher heating temperature. The presence of small aggregates hence increased the resistance to flow leading to an increase in the viscosity of the homogenized heat-treated coconut milk.

Keywords: Apparent viscosity; Coconut milk; Homogenization; Preheat treatment; Fat content

1. Introduction Coconut milk is the white, oil-in-water emulsion extracted from fresh coconut flesh with or without added water. It is very important ingredient for many traditional foods of Asian and Pacific regions such as curries and desserts. As reported by Simuang, Chiewchan, and Tansakul (2004), coconut milk contained about 54% moisture, 35% fat and 11% solid non-fat and they also showed that fat content played an important role in the flow property of coconut milk. Apart from the factors described above, heat treatment is the other factor which plays an important role for the change of rheological properties of coconut milk during processing and shelf storage. Several research works studied the effect of heat treatment after homog-

enization on the flow properties of coconut milk. It has been reported that coconut milk exhibited pseudoplastic behavior (Chiewchan, Phungamngoen, & Siriwattanayothin, in press; Simuang et al., 2004; Vitali, Soler, & Rao, 1985). Vitali et al. (1985) studied the effect of dissolved gums and sugar on the flow behavior of coconut milk at various fat contents (7.5%, 33.5% and 34.5%) over the temperature range of 15–50 °C. Their results showed that coconut milk samples were mildly shear thinning fluid. Chiewchan et al. (in press) studied the effects of homogenization pressures (11/4, 14/4, 17/4, 20/4 and 23/4 MPa) and commercial sterilizing conditions (109.3, 115.6 and 121.1 °C at F0 value for 5 min) on the quality of canned high fat coconut milk (30% fat content). A reduction in apparent viscosity was found for the coconut milk undergoing higher sterilizing temperatures. Their results also suggested that the rheological properties of coconut milk were influenced by both homogenizing pressure and sterilizing conditions. Simuang et al. (2004) studied the effects of fat content

in the range of 15–30% and heat treatment in the temperature range of 70–90 °C on the flow properties of coconut milk. They observed that fat globules tended to form cluster at high temperature which resulted in the changes of rheological properties of coconut milk. They concluded that coconut milk exhibited pseudoplastic behavior. Furthermore, temperature along with the contribution of fat content had significant effect on the apparent viscosity of coconut milk. The preheat treatment before homogenizing process also had significant effect on rheological properties of food emulsion. Temperature of preheat treatment can influence the size of droplet produced during homogenization and this affects the rheological properties of oil-in-water emulsion (Floury, Desrumaux, Axelos, & Legrand, 2003). Moreover, it has been revealed that a higher oil concentration in the emulsion results in a larger mean droplet diameter for the similar homogenizing conditions (Floury, Desrumaux, & Legrand, 2000). Shaker, Jumah, and Abu-Jdayil (2000) studied the effect of preheat treatment (137 °C for 2 s, 90 °C for 30 min and 65 °C for 30 min) of milk during coagulation process of plain yogurt. They found that the highest viscosity was manifested by milk heated at 137 °C while the lowest value was exhibited by milk heated at 65 °C. Food emulsion properties depend on several factors such as temperature, homogenization pressure, food compositions, type and concentration and of emulsifier and/or stabilizer. However, the effects of food compositions and feed temperature prior to homogenization have not been studied in coconut milk product. Therefore, this work was aimed to investigate the effects of fat content and preheat temperatures on the rheological properties of coconut milk after homogenization.

2.2. Rheological measurement The rheological measurements of coconut milk samples were carried out using a rotational, concentric cylinder viscometer (Haake, Model VT500, Germany) with NV type measuring system. Shear rate was increased from 0 to 300 sÀ1 in 2 min. The temperature of the sample was maintained at 30 °C during the measurements by means of thermostat bath for controlling the stability of the sample. The experimental data were presented as average of two replicates. 2.3. Microscopic study A few drops of oleoresin were added to 10 ml of coconut milk sample. Then the solution was stirred for at least 1 min to disperse the dye. A few drops of the stained mixture were transferred to the slides and a cover glass was placed over the sample. The determination of the fat structure of coconut milk was conducted using a standard optical microscope (Olympus, Model CH2, Japan). Photographs were taken from typical fields to compare the changeability of the fat globules.

3. Results and discussion The experimental data obtained for coconut milk with 15–30% fat contents at different preheat temperatures (70, 80 or 90 °C, respectively) are shown in Fig. 1. Similar rheograms were obtained for each experimental condition and exhibited non-Newtonian pseudoplastic behavior. By using a power-law model, the excellent fits were obtained with the high correlation coefficients (R2 = 0.995 À 0.951). The values of consistency coefficient (K), the flow behavior index (n) and also apparent viscosity are given in Tables 1 and 2. The results showed that apparent viscosity decreased with increasing shear rate for all samples. As the shear rate increased, the particle–particle interaction was deformed and eventually disrupted which resulted in the size reduction of the flocs and resulted in decreasing of viscosity. At higher shear rate, the viscosity reached a constant value because all of flocs and large particles were completely disrupted. Therefore, only individual and small particles remained in the system (McClements, 1999). n Values obtained from the experiments were in the range of 0.713–0.930 indicating that homogenized coconut milk behaved like a pseudoplastic fluid which were consistent with those have been reported by Vitali et al. (1985) and Simuang et al. (2004). For all coconut milk samples, an increase in fat concentration was accompanied with an increase in pseudoplasticity, shown by a decrease in values of the flow behavior index. At similar level of heat treatment, an increase in consistency coefficient (K) was observed with increasing

2. Material and methods 2.1. Sample preparation Fresh coconut milk without added water from the local market was passed through the cloth filters before experiments. The initial fat content of fresh coconut milk (35–37%) was determined by using Rose–Gottlieb method (AOAC, 1990). The coconut milk samples were subsequently diluted by distilled water to obtain the fat concentrations of 15%, 20%, 25%, and 30%, respectively. 0.6% w/v of Montanox 60 (polyoxethylene (20) sorbitan monostearate or Tween 60) and 0.6% w/v of CMC (carboxymethyl cellulose) were added while the samples were heated and stirred at the temperatures 70, 80 or 90 °C, respectively for 1 min. Then the samples were passed through a two-stage homogenizer (GEA, Model N S200 6L, Italy) at 14/4 MPa.

Apparent viscosity (Pa.s)

0.15 0.12 0.09 0.06 0.03 0.00 0 50 100 150 200 250 300

a

Table 2 Apparent viscosity (g) at 300 sÀ1 for homogenized heated treat coconut milk samples at varying fat contents Temperature (°C) 70 Fat content (%) 15 20 25 30 15 20 25 30 15 20 25 30 g (Pa s) 7.6 · 10À3 1.84 · 10À2 3.07 · 10À2 4.26 · 10À2 1.36 · 10À2 2.63 · 10À2 4.15 · 10À2 5.03 · 10À2 2.14 · 10À2 2.72 · 10À2 5.15 · 10À2 7.54 · 10À2

350

80

Shear rate (1/s) Apparent viscosity (Pa.s)
0.15 0.12 0.09 0.06 0.03 0.00 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350

b
90

Shear rate (1/s) Apparent viscosity (Pa.s)
0.15 0.12 0.09 0.06 0.03 0.00 0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350

c

Shear rate (1/s)
Fig. 1. The change in apparent viscosity of coconut milk samples after homogenization containing: (Ç) 15%, (h) 20%, (m) 25% and (s) 30% fat contents at the preheat temperatures of (a) 70 °C; (b) 80 °C and (c) 90 °C.

fat content indicating an increase in apparent viscosity. The reason was that the presence of large number of particles increased resistance to the flow which hence resulted in an increase in the apparent viscosity.

The effect of preheat treatment on the rheological properties of homogenized milk with varying fat content was also investigated. At similar fat concentration, higher K values were observed for the coconut milk passing higher temperature of preheat treatment. Maximum K value and apparent viscosity were found for the homogenized sample containing 30% fat content with preheating at 90 °C. The microstructures of coconut milk samples from different experimental conditions were examined using a typical microscope to explain the experimental results. Fig. 2 shows the micrographs of fresh coconut milk at varying fat concentrations. In fresh coconut milk, the fat globules were of variable size and non-uniformly dispersed with some aggregates. As fat content increased, more numbers of fat globules were observed. Fig. 3 exemplifies the effect of preheat treatment on the fat structure of coconut milk before and after homogenization. After adding the emulsifier and stabilizer to the coconut milk and heated at the studied temperatures, the evidence of clumping was clearly seen and more pronounced at higher preheat temperatures (Fig. 3a, c and e).

Table 1 Effects of fat content and preheat temperature on consistency coefficient (K) and flow behavior index (n) Temperature (°C) 70 Fat content (%) 15 20 25 30 15 20 25 30 15 20 25 30 K (Pa sn) 1.06 · 10 2.48 · 10À2 4.65 · 10À2 10.64 · 10À2 2.64 · 10À2 5.80 · 10À2 8.06 · 10À2 12.43 · 10À2 3.95 · 10À2 6.04 · 10À2 7.95 · 10À2 29.42 · 10À2
À2

n 0.930 0.927 0.910 0.808 0.902 0.862 0.860 0.843 0.872 0.840 0.831 0.713

g (Pa s) 7.6 · 10 1.84 · 10À2 3.07 · 10À2 4.26 · 10À2 1.36 · 10À2 2.63 · 10À2 4.15 · 10À2 5.03 · 10À2 2.14 · 10À2 2.72 · 10À2 5.15 · 10À2 7.54 · 10À2
À3

R2 0.964 0.951 0.974 0.987 0.975 0.985 0.973 0.975 0.986 0.986 0.966 0.995

80

90

Fig. 2. Micrographs (·100 magnification) of fresh coconut milk samples containing different fat contents: (a) 15%, (b) 20%, (c) 25% and (d) 30%.

Proteins in coconut milk were found to play an important role on the stability of the milk. Some of proteins are dissolved in water part and undissolved proteins act as an emulsifier by surrounding the surface of fat globules. It has been reported that denaturation of proteins in coconut milk generally occurred at 80 °C and heating the milk at 90–95 °C for several minutes could destroyed most of the proteins (Seow & Gwee, 1997). According to the results presented here, it could be explained that some heat labile proteins were denatured during heating at 70 °C resulting in the clumping of some fat globules. However, proteins were denatured at the slower rate than at 80 and 90 °C, respectively. Heating at higher temperature could cause more protein denaturation. Therefore, more large aggregates of emulsion droplets were observed. After homogenization process, the presence of smaller and more uniform droplet sizes were exhibited (Fig. 3b, d and f). Large aggregates of fine droplets were found in the samples which had passed preheat temperature at 70 °C. At higher heating temperature, smaller clumps of fat droplet were detected. Excellent distribution of small aggregates of a few numbers of fat droplet was obviously seen throughout an aqueous phase in the samples passing preheat treatment at 90 °C. Preheat treatment could influence the size of droplets produced during homogenization process. The viscosity of both oil and aqueous phase is temperature-dependent and decrease with increasing temperature which would

expect to facilitate the production of small droplet (Floury et al., 2000). Moreover, temperature also affected the rearrangement of the fat globule after homogenization which certainly modified the rheological property of an emulsion. During homogenization, the aggregates of varying size of fat globules were broken up by high shear force and uniformly fine droplets were produced. After the newly formed droplets leaving the valve, they moved closer under their attractive force and new interface must be formed to prevent the fat globules from coalescence (McClements, 1999). It has been reported that high temperature increased the negative charges of fat globule which resulted in preventing of cluster formation (Ogden, Walstra, & Morris, 1976). As the emulsions left the homogenizing valve, their temperatures were at about preheating temperatures. This means that fat globules of the samples having been subjected to heat treatment at higher temperature contained more numbers of negative charge. The globules in an emulsion system with less negative charges such that of preheating at 70 °C tended to come closer and contact each other before completely new interface were created. This resulted in the large aggregates of fine fat droplets with sharing interface. In the system with higher negative charges, the attractive force was greater reduced and the droplets could better repel one another. This provided sufficient time of forming new interface for emulsifier to be adsorbed

Fig. 3. Micrographs (·100 magnification) of non-homogenized (a, c, e) and homogenized (b, d, f) coconut milk samples containing 15% fat content at varying preheat temperatures: (a, b) 70 °C, (c, d) 80 °C and (e, f) 90 °C.

at the surface of the droplets. When comparing in terms of the composition of interfacial layer, more proteins were denatured in the sample passing higher preheating temperature which led to a decrease of mass of protein per unit surface area (Walstra, Geurts, Noomen, Jellema, & Van Boekel, 1999). Generally, surfactants like monoglycerides or Tweens tend to reduce the surface tension much further than most of the proteins do. The emulsifier added in the coconut milk samples therefore displaced the proteins which had denatured during the preheating and also were preferentially adsorbed at the oil–water interface of newly created droplets. As the reason described above, much smaller aggregates of fat globules were detected for the samples passing high heating temperature. The presence of small aggre-

gates hence increased the resistance to flow leading to an increase in the viscosity of the sample.

4. Conclusions The effects of fat content and preheat temperature on the apparent viscosity of coconut milk have been examined in this study. The apparent viscosity of coconut milk could be fitted well to power-law model. All samples exhibited pseudoplastic behavior with the flow behavior index (n) between 0.713 and 0.930 depending on fat content and preheat temperature. Consistency coefficient (K) or apparent viscosity and all samples was highly dependent on fat content and preheat temperature. The results

illustrated that fat content with the contribution of preheat treatment prior to homogenization process were important factors which influenced the flow property and stability of coconut milk. The processing condition and operating steps should be justified in order to produce a high quality processed coconut milk. Acknowledgements This work was supported by the National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Thailand (BIOTEC). The authors wish to thank Adinop Company for kindly providing the emulsifying agent, Montanox 60. References
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