Functional Biopolymer Particles: Design, Fabrication, and Applications



Abstract:  Biopolymer nano- and micro-particles, fabricated from either proteins and/or polysaccharides, can be utilized as delivery systems or to modulate the physicochemical and sensory characteristics of food products. This article reviews the principles underlying the design, fabrication, and application of biopolymer particles fabricated from globular proteins, used either alone or in combination with polysaccharides, within the food industry. The properties of biopolymer particles and their impact on the physicochemical and functional properties of foods are described. The molecular characteristics and interactions of the building blocks (proteins and polysaccharides) used to assemble these particles are briefly reviewed. The major structural design principles that can be used to fabricate biopolymer particles from food-grade proteins and polysaccharides are outlined. Finally, some of the potential applications of functional biopolymer particles within foods are highlighted.