Egg-yolk lipid fractionation and lecithin characterization

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Egg-yolk lecithin has phospholipid (PL) classes and a FA composition that differ from soybean lecithin and may have unique functional properties. The purposes of this research were to develop an effective method for extracting a sufficient amount to lecithin from fresh egg yolks and to evaluate its functional properties. Ethanol was used to dehydrate and partially extract the PL, after which hexane was used to extract the total lipids. A phase separation of the combined extracts resulted in neutral and polar lipid fractions. An acetone precipitation of PL from the final polar lipid fraction was necessary to remove the residual neutral lipids, especially cholesterol. The purity of PL in the lecithin product was 95%. Surface tension reduction, emulsion stability, and oxidative stability studies were conducted to characterize the functional properties of egg-yolk lecithin. Egg-yolk lecithin and soy lecithin had similar surface activities, as evaluated by the surface tension reduction in an aqueous system and the critical micelle concentration. Soybean lecithin created a more stable emulsion than egg-yolk lecithin. However, egg-yolk lecithin was more oxidatively stable than soybean lecithin.