Reducing synthetic colorants release from alginate-based liquid-core beads with a zein shell

Hongxiang Liu, Bor-Sen Chiou, Yun Ma, Harold Corke, Fei Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


An innovative method to reduce hydrophilic synthetic colorant release at interface was presented in this work, based on the anti-solvent effect at the membrane outside surface of liquid-core beads manufactured by reverse spherification between alginate and calcium ion. Zein, a hydrophobic protein which formed precipitation shell ensured the stability of colorant. Acidification of solvent made zein particles more kinetically stable, allowed zein stretching and collated more orderly secondary structures even in high polarity solvents. Colorants that hydrogen bonded or electrostatically interacted with zein could have optimized release properties. The zein/erythrosine samples had the most orderly secondary structure from circular dichroism and had the highest stability among all zein/colorant systems. The release rate of erythrosine was only 2.76% after 48 h storage after soaking in zein shell solution. This study demonstrated a promising clean and scalable strategy to encapsulate hydrophilic compounds in zein-based shells of liquid-core beads for food, supplement and pharmaceutical applications.
Original languageEnglish
JournalFood Chemistry
StateAccepted/In press - 17 Feb 2022


  • colorant release
  • alginate liquid-core bead
  • zein shell


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