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Journal of Food, Agriculture & Environment Vol.9 (1): 27-29. 2011

Physically modified starches: A review
Gholamhossein Haghayegh 1* and Regine Schoenlechner
1 2


Department of Food Sciences and Technology, University of Zabol, P.O.Box 98615-538, Zabol, Islamic Republic of Iran. Department of Food Sciences and Technology, Institute of Food Technology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Muthgasse 18, A-1190 Vienna, Austria. *e-mail:

Received 20 October 2010, accepted 12 January 2011.

Native starch granules are insoluble at room temperature, highly resistant to enzymatic hydrolysis and lack specific functional properties. As starch in its native form is relatively inert, it must be modified to disrupt the granule structure and induce required functional properties. Modified starches are of commercial interest for use in food industries. Various methods have been developed to produce a range of modified starches with a variety of physical characteristics and applications. This review aims to summarize the latest developments and recent knowledge regarding physically modified starches. The paper covers modification methods such as drum drying, extrusion cooking, spray drying, small granule starches, annealing and heat-moisture treatment, as well as high hydrostatic pressure treatment of starches. Key words: Physically modified starches, functional properties.

Introduction Pregelatinized starches have in common that they are dispersible in cold water. These dispersions show less thickening and gelling power than the corresponding, freshly cooked pastes prior to drying. There is an industrial need for instant products that disperse readily, giving various types of texture: smooth, pulpy or grainy 1, 2. Physical treatments of starch can be classified according to the preservation of the granular structure of starch. Drum drying or extrusion cooking are common processes to produce pregelatinized starches; such treatments are accompanied by the loss of the integrity of the starch granules together with a partial depolymerisation of starch components. In addition, there are numerous physical treatments leading to novel functional properties of starch that are due to the modification of the crystalline structure of starch granule while its integrity is preserved. Among them, the most investigated processes are annealing 3, 4 and heat-moisture treatments (HMT) 5-11 which are using a great variety of operating conditions. Recently, the effects of high pressure applied in a hydrostatic or a dynamic way were also explored 12-14. Modification of Starch Drum drying: Pregelatinized starches are produced commercially by applying starch-water slurries to a heated surface (rolls or drums) in order to destroy the hydrated starch granules and produce a cooked starch 15. Drum-drying is the most widely used technique at industrial scale. The overall pregelatinisation process occurs in one or two steps. For the one-step process, the starch slurry (up to 45% dry matter) is fed onto the drums that are used to gelatinize and to dehydrate starch paste at the same time. For the two-step process, the starch slurry is primarily cooked in a
Journal of Food, Agriculture & Environment, Vol.9 (1), January 2011

heat exchanger or a high-temperature jet cooker and dehydrated by drum drying 2. The process is simple and straightforward in theory, but becomes unpredictable and elusive to control in actual practice, which explains the difficulty of obtaining reproducible products by this process 16. The roll or drum drying involves spreading a hot starch paste between rolls or drums to produce a dried flake product. The food material can vary from slurry of raw starch to a thoroughly cooked starch paste. The end product, which depends upon the parameters of rolls and drums, can be roughly cube shaped, or flat and flaky, the former giving high bulk densities and slow rehydration rates and the latter, low bulk densities with high rehydration rates. Extrusion cooking: Extrusion cooking was first applied in the pasta industry in the mid-1930s to allow continuos production and versality. Pasta products are generally obtained by extrusion cooking of flour (semolina) dough through a die to produce a required shape. Pasta extrusion cooking is characterized by low shear and low heat (30-40°C), insufficient to cook the material. The development of synthetic polymers has created a demand for a technology of shaping by extrusion cooking or moulding and this process was transferred to the food industry in the 1960s, initially for the production of ready-to-eat (RTE) breakfast cereals. In extrusion cooking, the pressure, generated behind the discharge die, forces the material through the aperture; at the die exit, the product expands due to the pressure drop. The temperatures attained by food materials during extrusion-cooking can be high (~ 200°C) although the residence time in the extruder is normally very short (30-45 s), hence the extrusion process is often called a high-temperature short-time treatment (HTST) 15. The ability of extruders to provide shape and texture to food constitutes has 27

Drum drying Reduced degradation leading to low water solubility High swelling power (10-20 g water/g dry sediment) Water-soluble fractions enriched with amylose Extrusion cooking Pronounced degradation leading to high water solubility Low swelling power (3-10 g water/g dry sediment) Water-soluble fractions with the same amylose/amylopectine ratio as in native starch moisture treatment” (HMT). 18. The first treatment that was formerly applied implies heating starch slurries (with excess water) at temperature below the gelatinisation temperature. This was done in order to improve starch extraction by wet milling. 4) Modification of the paste viscosity and gel formation due to restricted swelling power of the starch granules and low solubility of amylose. Starch from Amaranthus retroflexus has a granule diameter of 0. The gelatinized starch is then finely atomized and dried in a spray drying tower. the smallest granules are rice and amaranth starches (1µm in diameter). Native starches from certain grass and cereal seeds and some roots have been reported to have small granule diameters. Similar results were found for standard maize. has been found for cassava starch 11. The results of many papers indicate a limited swelling power of pressure gelatinised wheat starch compared to the heat gelatinised one. w/v) are atomized through an atomization aperture within a nozzle chamber.5 µm 20.25 µm.9 (1). the B-type starch remains unchanged 13. 11. which have a granule diameter similar to the diameter of lipid micells. Table 1. or confections. The effects of hydrostatic pressure on the structural and functional properties of starch can be summarized as follows: 1) Transition from A to B-type X-ray pattern. The retrogradation of pressure-induced gels is supposed to occur within starch granules. 5. (~2 µm) have been proposed as a good fat substitute. 11. 18. These modifications occur for both processes and have been ascribed to a physical reorganisation of amorphous and crystalline zones within starch granules 2.also been the major reason why they have increased rapidly in popularity. Then it has been recognized that in semi-dry conditions (<35% water) it is possible to apply higher temperatures without any gelatinisation. The treatment in excess water is referred to as “annealing”. Annealing and heat-moisture treatment: It has been known for 20-30 years that a controlled application of heat and moisture can modify starch properties without visible change in granule size. High hydrostatic pressure treatment of starches: High hydrostatic pressure can be applied to starch to induce gelatinisation at room temperature (20-25°C). as stabilizer in baking powder. whereas waxy maize starch and tapioca starch exhibited a higher swelling power after pressure treatment 18. The process results in 100% granular precooked starch 20. The process produces a uniformly cooked or gelatinized starch with a minimum of shears and heat damage. Comparison of drum/drying and extrusion cooking 9. as face (dusting) powders. at a pressure ranging from 400 MPa (for wheat starch) to 900 MPa (for potato starch) 18. textured vegetable protein. beverage bases. Small granule starch are also used as fillers in starch filled biodegradable plastic films. It was also noticed that such a treatment could insert novel characteristics to starch.5-1. bread substitutes. such as better freeze-thaw stability. The properties of heat gelatinised starches are different from the ones of pressure gelatinised starches. and A. January 2011 . The time the starch slurry takes to travel from the atomization opening and through the chamber to exit from the nozzle chamber defines the cooking time of the starch. It is also possible to use the combined effect of pressure and temperature to achieve gelatinisation. The common effect of the two processes is to induce a macromolecular degradation of amylose and amylopectin 9.5 µm. cruentus: 0.75-1. 12. Agriculture & Environment. Starch from Chenopodium quinoa has a granule diameter of 1-2. the starch granules might simulate fat droplets as they can be considered as microparticles of well-defined size distribution 2. The expanded and crunchy characteristics of ingredients are used for snacks or ready-to-eat (RTE) cereals. The resulting starch properties are an increase of the gelatinisation temperature associated with a decrease in swelling power. hypochondriacus 1 µm. disrupting molecular entanglements. Steam is injected into the atomized starch through a second opening in the chamber to maintain the temperature of the nozzle chamber at ~150ºC. 2) Preservation of the granular structure and restricted amylose leaching during gelatinisation 4. full-fat soy flour. soup and gravy bases.The higher solubility obtained by extrusion cooking is explained by the implication of shear forces that completely disperse the starch components. or when maize or wheat has to be dried after harvesting. for example. whereas the treatment in semi-dry conditions was renamed “heat28 Journal of Food. 3) No change in the molecular weight distribution of starch components. Both processes occur at a temperature higher than the glass transition temperature while below the gelatinisation temperature. As a possible application pressurized starch could be used as fat substitute. This also explains the low swelling power and the fluidification of dispersions when applying this process. Reduced amylose leaching is also observed during the pasting process. A major new area for food extrusion cooking has been the texturization of vegetable proteins to produce a fibre like structure associated with meats 16. Starch slurries (15-50%. A comparison of the effects of drum-drying and extrusion cooking on the properties of wheat starch is presented in Table 1. For example. These changes are accompanied by an improved shear and heat stability of starch granules. this would make starch gels less sensitive to ageing. precooked and modified starches. shape and birefringence. 19. Vol. A. Small granule starches: The small granule starches. Spray drying process: The method of treating starch by using injection and nozzle spray drying was reported in detail by Pitchon et al. (by random chain splitting) that yields starch dispersions that are much less viscous than with the parent starches 2. soft moist and dry pet foods. or as laundry-stiffening agents. 10.

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