The ability of whey protein fluid gels to produce very stable foams was demonstrated. These systems were prepared by heat induced gelation within the turbulent flow field of a pin stirrer at pH 5 and 8. The effect of pH and final protein concentration on the morphology of the particles, the bulk, interfacial and rheological properties and finally the foaming properties of their aqueous suspensions were investigated. Whey protein fluid gels, when produced close to the isoelectric point, consist of small spherical protein aggregates without significant functionality. Micrographs taken suggest that the protein aggregates created have the ability to adsorb at the air/water interface. Nevertheless, the lack of further increase in interfacial viscosity or elasticity indicates that either the adsorption is easily reversible or that it is only partial due to lack of material available to provide complete coverage. By increasing the pH of these systems the protein entities present acquire a negative charge, which causes an increase to both the bulk and interfacial viscoelasticity and increase of the stability of foams. The proposed mechanism is that during foaming, the smaller and mobile protein entities diffuse fast to the interface and provide the necessary interfacial tension reduction to facilitate foam formation. Subsequently, the larger protein particles fill the free space between the air bubbles and increase the local bulk viscosity, which improves foam stability mainly by preventing drainage. Whey protein fluid gels were able to create the same amount of foam as non-treated whey proteins but with substantially increased stability.
- Fluid gels