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Sucrose esters are obtained by esterifying sucrose with edible fatty acids from palm oil. This enables them to be used as emulsifiers in virtually all food products. Sucrose esters are used in many applications including bakery, confectionery, cereals, dairy, ice cream and sauces.

 Sucrose esters of fatty acids, commonly known as sucrose esters, and sucrose oligo esters are a relatively  
 new extension to the line of emulsifiers available for the American food market. Being based on sucrose and
 edible fatty acids, sucrose esters are a unique range of high quality, non-ionic emulsifiers. 
 They are obtained by esterifying one or more of the (primary) hydroxyl groups of the sucrose molecule with 
 methyl fatty acids. By varying the degree of esterification of the sucrose molecule it is possible to obtain 
 emulsifiers with HLB values ranging from 1 up to19 for the high mono-esters. 

 Sucrose esters can be used in a wide range of food applications. They are mostly used in bakery,    
 confectionery, desserts and special emulsions. This white paper presents more detailed physical and 
 chemical information as well as regulatory information about sucrose esters and sucrose oligo esters. 

 Sucrose (oligo) esters melt at temperatures between 40°C and 60°C, depending on the degree of    
 esterification. Heating to temperatures up to 185°C can be done without any harmful effects on   
 the performance. However, at temperatures higher th an 140°C some colour formation can occur due to  
 caramellisation of traces of free sucrose present in the product. 

 They are stable at pH values between 4 and 8. At pH values higher than 8, saponification of the ester bond 
 may occur, while under acid conditions inversion of the sucrose moiety is possible. Acid aggregation may 
 occur at very low pH and high salt concentration. Solubility: Sucrose esters are more easily dissolved in 
 water and do not dissolve in oil. Sucrose oligo esters do not dissolve in water and dissolve better in oil 
 When the oil or water phase is heated to 60- 80°C the solubility improves.

1. Usage in bakery applications 
Sucrose esters of fatty acids are used in the main areas of baked goods such as (reduced fat) high ratio and pound cakes, sponge cakes, (low fat) biscuits and frozen dough. The functionalities of Sucrose esters in baked goods, besides their emulsifying properties, can be divided into two main areas: 
       1) Protein interaction:
           The chemical structure of Sucrose esters enables them to interact with the proteins present
            in flour, by means of hydrophilic and/or hydrophobic bindings. 
       2) Starch interactio 
           The non-ionic character of sucrose esters enables them to complex readily and effectively 
           with amylose, present in flour. It is assumed that, like other emulsifiers, the fatty acid chain  
           trapped within the helical conformation of the amylase molecule. The resulting complex 
           delays starch gelatinization and starch retrogradation. A soft crumb structure, large
           volume and extended shelf life are the result.

Advantages of sucrose esters in baked products:
• increased mixing tolerance of dough or batter
• high volume
• improved crumb softness
• improved shelf life
• improved freeze-thaw stability

 2. Usage in sugar (or sugar free) confections
Sucrose esters are used in soft grained confection such as fudges, toffee’s, fondants and chewies.
Other application area’s are cereal bars and panned confectionery. Two functionalities play a
primary role in sugar confectionery.

1) Controlled sugar crystallisation
Sucrose esters affect sugar crystallisation and sugar crystal stability. By adding sucrose esters
to a sugar solution the lower limit of the metastable region  will be at a lower
temperature. By increasing the metastable region or ‘super saturation curve’ many more nuclei
will be formed. On these nuclei the sugar will crystallise. The more nuclei to begin with the
more crystals will be created and the smaller the resulting average crystal size. Crystallisation
will also be much quicker when there are more nuclei available on which to crystallise.

A laser beam is sent through a hot sugar solution. When the solution cools down sugar crystals are formed.
The solution becomes opaque and the laser beam is dispersed. This is detected by a light sensitive cell. The
temperature at which this happens is the lower limit. When reheated the crystals are dissolved again and the
beam is not dispersed anymore. This temperature is the upper limit. The temperature range between upper
and lower limit is called the metastable region.

2) Emulsification
Candy recipes often contain fat to carry the flavour and create a specific mouthfeel. Sucrose esters
with a high HLB-value (high mono-ester content) are very strong oil-in-water emulsifiers and will
disperse the fat thoroughly in the candy. This will prevent fat oozing from the candy and staining the
paper wrapping additionally it prevents quality issues such as rancidity.

 Advantages of sucrose esters in confectionery:
• Accelerated sugar (or polyol) crystallisation, thus more rapid processing.
• Formation of small sized, stable, crystals.
• Dry, non-sticking, surface of the candy.
• Improved shelf life.
• Smooth and soft structure.
• Attractive and whiter appearance.
• No fat separation from the candy

 3. Usage in dairy and desserts
Sucrose esters are used in ice cream, mousses and dairy alternatives such as non-dairy toppings.
The role of sucrose esters in these applications shows a big variety from emulsification to aerating
agent and protein protection.

1) Emulsification
High mono-ester sucrose esters have exceptionally high HLB-values (Hydrophilic, Lipophilic
Balance). High HLB-value emulsifiers are very suitable for making oil-in-water emulsions which most
dairy and desserts are. In general they make smaller fat or oil droplets which are more stable. The
effect of small and stable droplets differ per application, in chocolate mousse it helps to improve the
chocolate flavour outcome, in ice cream it creates a clean eating profile in toppings it improves

2) Aerating agent:
Medium to high HLB-value emulsifiers are also very good foamers, depending on the requested foam
volume and foam stiffness the best grade can be chosen. Sucrose esters are especially known for
creating a very fine foam structure the effect is creamy, rich but not heavy mouthfeel of e.g. chocolate

 3) Protein interaction:
The chemical structure of sucrose esters enables them to interact with the proteins present in most dairy
products, by means of hydrophilic and/or hydrophobic bindings.The effect on the proteins is that
they are less sensitive for flocculation caused by low pH, heating or shear.

Advantages of sucrose esters in dairy and desserts:
• Improved flavour release
• Quick and high overrun
• Fine foam structure
• Creamy mouthfeel
• Prevention of protein flocculation

 4. Usage in sauces and emulsions
In Europe sucrose esters are used in cooked white sauces, mayonnaise and also in more special
emulsions such as cooking sprays and colour emulsions. In the US the usage in these applications
is still prohibited. Emulsification is the number one functionality in these applications. Sucrose
esters are especially good at creating very stable (low viscous) emulsions.


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