Journal of the American Oil Chemists’ Society

, Volume 58, Issue 8, pp 830–837

The function of phospholipids of soybean lecithin in emulsions

  • L. Rydhag
  • I. Wilton

DOI: 10.1007/BF02665591

Cite this article as:
Rydhag, L. & Wilton, I. J Am Oil Chem Soc (1981) 58: 830. doi:10.1007/BF02665591


A number of commercially available soybean lecithins were analyzed with respect to their phospholipid composition and emulsifying properties. A phosphatidylcholine (PC) from soybean swells to a lamellar liquid crystalline phase which incorporates slightly less than 50% of water. The swelling behavior of the commercially available soybean lecithins may be different depending on the concentration of other phospholipids such as phosphatidylethanolamine (PE), phosphatidylinositol (PI) and phosphatidic acid (PA). In the presence of the negatively charged phospholipids PI and PA, the swelling of the lamellar phase of PC was dramatically enhanced while a lecithin with equal amounts of PC and PE and small quantities of PI and PA formed two liquid crystalline phases, i.e., a lamellar and a hexagonal phase. Stable o/w-emulsions can be prepared when the phospholipid composition is such that a lamellar liquid crystalline phase in equilibrium with the oil and water phases incorporates large amounts of water. The minimal amount of emulsifier required to stabilize the emulsions has been estimated to give an interfacial film of ca. 80 Å thickness which corresponds to a thickness of two double lipid layers in the interfacial film. The incorporation of large amounts of water is obtained if the lamellar layers contain dissociated ionic groups.

Copyright information

© American Oil Chemists’ Society 1981

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Rydhag
    • 1
  • I. Wilton
    • 1
  1. 1.The Swedish Institute for Surface ChemistryStockholmSweden

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