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News Article

Nets rather than armour stabilise foams.

Study provides a method for food scientists to create new foams.

Consumers love foamy foods such as beer heads, whipped creams, meringues, ice cream. Maintaining foams and stopping them collapsing however, is a headache for the food industry. Zurich-based researchers have identified a way of making foams long lasting by inhibiting the Ostwald ripening effect where bigger bubbles grow and smaller ones shrink. Their solution coats bubble in nets of small particles and shows that exploring interactions between particles may be fruitful when developing stabilisers.

Proteins in beer foams are quite good at slowing the Ostwald ripening by lowering surface tension. Recent research by food researchers has explored uses of mixes of proteins and starch, cellulose or oil droplets to stabilise foams.

In this study, funded in part by Nestlé, researchers coated bubbles in several different kinds of particles at different concentrations to see how they withstood pressure.

Previously scientists thought that a bubble had to be coated in a dense monolayer to be protected and that the particles didn’t interact with one another. This work suggests all that is needed is a net of particles and that they do interact. The researchers succeeded in stabilising bubbles over a wide range of pressures.

This work provides a method for food researchers to develop and test foams. It suggests ways to develop better stabilisers by fine tuning the interactions between stabilising particles by adjusting shape, roughness, for example.


Arresting dissolution by interfacial rheology design. Peter J. Beltramo, Manish Gupta, Alexandra Alicke, Irma Liascukiene, Deniz Z. Gunes, Charles N. Baroud, Jan Vermant. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2017; 201705181 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1705181114

Article details

  • Author(s)
  • I. Hoskins
  • Date
  • 20 September 2017
  • Subject(s)
  • Food technology