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J Food Sci. 2015 Nov;80(11):R2361-6. doi: 10.1111/1750-3841.13096. Epub 2015 Oct 14.

Review: Milk Proteins as Nanocarrier Systems for Hydrophobic Nutraceuticals.

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Dept. of Food Technology, Fulda Univ. of Applied Sciences, Leipziger St 123, 36037, Fulda, Germany.


Milk proteins and milk protein aggregates are among the most important nanovehicles in food technology. Milk proteins have various functional properties that facilitate their ability to carry hydrophobic nutraceutical substances. The main functional transport properties that were examined in the reviewed studies are binding of molecules or ions, surface activity, aggregation, gelation, and interaction with other polymers. Hydrophobic binding has been investigated using caseins and isolated β-casein as well as whey proteins. Surface activity of caseins has been used to create emulsion-based carrier systems. Furthermore, caseins are able to self-assemble into micelles, which can incorporate molecules. Gelation and interaction with other polymers can be used to encapsulate molecules into protein networks. The release of transported substances mainly depends on pH and swelling behavior of the proteins. The targeted use of nanocarrier systems requires specific knowledge about the binding mechanisms between the proteins and the carried substances in a certain food matrix.


carrier systems; caseins; milk proteins; nanostructures; whey proteins

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