Chapter 6: Edible Oleogels Produced with Fatty Alcohols: The Use of Policosanol as an Oleogelator
Published:07 Feb 2022
F. R. Lupi, A. Shakeel, U. Farooq, N. Baldino, and D. Gabriele, in Development of Trans-free Lipid Systems and their Use in Food Products, ed. J. F. Toro-Vazquez, The Royal Society of Chemistry, 2022, ch. 6, pp. 139-156.
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Organogelation is one of the most promising techniques to replace unhealthy saturated fats in foods, guaranteeing a similar texture but with the use of healthy unsaturated oils. Nevertheless, the number of food grade gelators is not high, and the discovery of new agents is still due to “serendipity”. Among the different gelators investigated in the literature, fatty alcohols, i.e., aliphatic hydrocarbons with a hydroxyl group, represent an interesting alternative. Within this context, a mixture of long chain alcohols, commercially known as Policosanol, seems particularly promising. Policosanol can be extracted from natural sources such as sugarcane, beeswax, wheat germ, and rice bran. Policosanol is very effective in structuring edible oils even at a very low concentration (0.1%) and has positive health effects on the cardio-circulatory system and cholesterol levels. Therefore, structured vegetable oils can be obtained through the use of edible healthy gelators (i.e., Policosanol). The oleogels developed with Policosanol might be used as substitutes for traditional hard fats or as novel structured vegetable oil systems with controlled rheological properties. The rheological, microscopic, and sensory properties of fatty alcohol oleogels are discussed in this chapter, as well as their potential use for producing new foods and vehicles for the controlled release of nutraceutical compounds.