Use of ingredients and processing to control the stability of high whey protein concentration retort sterilized beverages.
Stable retorted whey protein beverages with 5% protein concentration were prepared. The effect of protein concentration, fat concentration and homogenization pressure on the heat stability and the stability of emulsions of sterilized whey protein beverages was determined. Beverages containing >1% protein formed aggregates during the heat treatment. Food grade additives were added to the beverages with >1% protein to determine if the heat stability could be improved. Lecithins and polyphosphates improved the heat stability while hydrocolloids decreased the heat stability. Lecithins improved the heat stability of emulsions better than polyphosphates but polyphosphates were more effective in beverages without fat. Lecithins modified by acetylation or hydrolysis provided more protection against heat denaturation of proteins than regular lecithin. Acetylated lecithin created the emulsions most stable against creaming. Improvement in the emulsion stability by the use of phospholipids was associated with a more negative charge at the interface of the fat droplets. The effect of polyphosphates on the heat stability was related to the chain length of the polyphosphates. Short chain polyphosphates (dp∼4) were more effective than other polyphosphates. Polyphosphates probably improved the heat stability of the systems by changing the structure of water and this prevented aggregation of whey proteins. Hydrocolloids decreased heat stability most probably through thermodynamic incompatibility that locally increased the concentration of proteins and promoted aggregation during the heat treatment.