Temporal sodium release related to gel microstructural properties-implications for sodium reduction

Wan Yuan Kuo, Youngsoo Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The microstructure of food can be engineered to enhance sodium release during mastication, which may be used as a strategy to reduce sodium content in foods. This study aimed to relate sodium release to microstructural properties of solid lipoproteic colloid (SLC) foods. The SLC gels with 1.5% (w/w) NaCl were prepared by homogenization of whey protein isolate and anhydrous milk fat, followed by heat-induced gelation. The gels varied in protein content (8% or 16%), fat content (0%, 11%, 22%, or 33%), and homogenization pressures (14 or 55 MPa). The maximum rate of sodium release during the initial gel compression increased with increasing gel porosity and pore size. This was due to more releasable serum in the gels with larger pore volume and larger pores. The maximum concentration of sodium at the end of sodium release increased with reduced size of the fat particles in the gels. The smaller fat particles were dispersed more uniformly and interrupted the protein network more, and facilitated the gel breakdown. The above findings suggested that, during the breakdown of the SLC gels, the major mechanisms of sodium release are via serum release followed by sodium diffusion, which are governed by the gel porosity and the particle size of fat, respectively. This study demonstrated the dependence of temporal sodium release properties on the microstructural properties of an SLC food system. The findings from this study could lay the foundation for further investigation of the dependence of saltiness perception on SLC microstructure, which can provide insight for sodium reduction in SLC products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)E2245-E2252
JournalJournal of food science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2014


  • Particle size
  • Porosity
  • Serum release
  • Sodium reduction
  • Sodium release

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


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