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Abstraction: Microemulsions are a category of microheterogeneous systems holding alone characteristics of stableness, solubilization capacity, structural morphology, physical belongings and pertinence. Depending on the types of oil and amphiphile, and environmental conditions, microemulsion systems of varied classs, consistences and internal constructions may ensue. The necessities of microemulsion systems are therefore controlled by external factors and internal chemical science. The implicit in physicochemical rules commanding their formation, phase behaviors and related belongingss supplemented with experimental observations need clip to clip appraisal and assessment to scientists and engineers. This reappraisal aims at such a intent and makes a concise presentation of the physicochemistry and applications of microemulsions in nutrient industry to convey the readers up-to-date with the present province of cognition on the topic. The characteristics that will be presented in some inside informations are the theory of microemulsion formation, general process for their readying, stage organizing behavior of assorted H2O, amphiphile and oil systems. Important utilizations and applications of microemulsions in nutrient industry will besides be discussed.

Keywords: Microemulsion, theory, readying, phase behavior, construction, belongingss, application.


Microemulsions are amphiphile aided thermodynamically stable oil in H2O ( o/w ) or H2O in oil ( w/o ) scatterings. They have stableness for long continuance. Normally, an oil-water interface has high interfacial energy ( or tenseness ) so that the free energy of formation of the interface is extremely positive. The add-on of amphiphilic compounds can convey the interfacial tenseness to a really low value, taking to self-generated formation of one scattering into the other, i.e. , organizing a microemulsion. The difference between emulsions ( some times called macroemulsions )

and microemulsions is in footings of stableness. The former has relatively higher

interfacial tenseness and is kinetically stable ( necessitating occasional stirring or agitation ) ,

whereas the latter is thermodynamically stable. Therefore, emulsions are reasonably stable systems and with clip separate into H2O and oil. The droplet sizes of the scatterings in microemulsions range between 10-100 nanometer ; for emulsions the size may be greater than 105 nm. Systems with sizes runing between 102 to 105 nanometers are termed as miniemulsions. They besides are non thermodynamically stable.

In the presence of H2O, wetting agents can organize rearward micelles in non polar organic media. A wholly dry organic medium does non let contrary micelle formation. A w/o microemulsion droplet is besides a contrary micelle. In the contrary micelle, the sum of H2O nowadays is low and is limited to the maximal capacity of hydration of the hydrophilic caput group of the wetting agents ; hence, the pool H2O is stiff. In a w/o microemulsion, when the sum of H2O

exceeds the hydration demand of the surfactant headgroups, both edge and free

H2O prevail in the pool. The rigidness and the crook of the interfacially bound H2O

bed affect the construction and physicochemical behavior of the microemulsion. A term

tungsten defined as [ H2O ] / [ wetting agent ] has been taken as a standard as to whether a contrary

micelle or a microemulsion has been formed. It has been suggested that when tungsten & A ; lt ; 10

it is a contrary micellar system and when tungsten & A ; gt ; 10 it is a microemulsion. However,

some grounds exists that the cut-off point may be w =15.

Though historically microemulsions have been studied for a long clip, their

importance was non acknowledged until the work of Schulman in 1943 with his

definition of the system. Physicochemically talking, a microemulsion is an amphiphile stabilized low syrupy, isotropic, and thermodynamically stable scattering of either w/o or o/w. The importance of microemulsions prevarications in the varied preparation possibilities and legion applications. The features of microemulsions have been ascertained by different physical methods. It has been found that microemulsions by and large have low viscousness and are handily formed in the presence of short concatenation intoxicants or aminoalkanes ( called cosurfactants ) , which help to cut down the interfacial tenseness to a really low value. But wetting agents like Aerosol OT ( AOT ) ) can handily organize microemulsions without using a cosurfactant ( Moulik, S.P. , 2006 ) .

Preparation of Microemulsion and Phase Behaviour

Microemulsions are spontaneously formed scatterings of either water-in-oil or oil-in-water. Generally, H2O ( 1 ) , wetting agents and cosurfactants ( 2 ) are place together in a container and the mixture is so titrated with an oil ( 3 ) until turbidness is visually observed. Alternatively, a mixture of H2O and oil can be titrated with a wetting agent until turbidness disappears. Besides, a mixture of wetting agents and oil can be titrated with H2O. The weight per centum composings at the terminal points of all these titrations ( which are either visual aspect or disappearing of turbidness ) are so plotted on a triangular co-ordinate to make a pseudo-ternary stage diagram, which illustrates different parts in it stand foring microemulsions and other types of entities as shown in Fig. 1. When a cosurfactant is used as more frequently than non, for a peculiar pseudo-ternary stage diagram, the wetting agent and the cosurfactant are taken in a definite ratio sing the mixture as a individual constituent.

Fig.1. A comprehensive treble stage diagram picturing assorted constructions a ) o/w

microemulsion ; B ) w/o microemulsion ; degree Celsius ) bicontinuous microemulsion ; vitamin D ) and e ) assorted dis-


It should be noted that the stage diagrams might be more complicated than shown in the figure. Syrupy solution, lamellar liquid crystals, thin or thick gels, individual stage, two stage and three stage parts are observed depending upon the wetting agent, the co-surfactant, the oil, and their concentrations every bit good as the temperature. The constructions of microemulsions can be really complex and different. Four different types of state of affairs may originate by blending H2O, oil and amphiphiles as shown by Winsor ( Winsor, 1954 ) . In the first, the spherical oil droplets are dispersed in H2O continuum and such a stage is in equilibrium with oil ( Winsor I or W I ) . Similarly, spherical H2O droplets dispersed in oil and in equilibrium with H2O is the 2nd

possibility ( Winsor II or W II ) . In these instances the concentrations of spread oil and

H2O are low. In W II system, the demand of wetting agent is low. As it increases,

it distorts the droplets. At a ratio of 1:1 ( v/v ) oil/water, the distorted droplets get attached to one another taking to a province of uninterrupted H2O and oil stages and

organize a bicontinuous construction that remains in equilibrium with both the oil and H2O

stages. This is referred to as ( the Winsor III or W III ) system. It has been suggested

that the bicontinuous microemulsion constructions have the physical visual aspect of a

‘fractal ‘ though is non yet once and for all proved. Besides these three types,

a concluding type of wholly homogenous individual stage may originate. Such a system is known as Winsor IV or W IV. A conventional representation of all these four types is shown in Fig. 2.

Fig. 2 Different stage organizing state of affairs for water-surfactant-oil mixtures.

The assorted water-oil-amphiphile systems have complex stage fluctuations and it

can be hard to place these assorted signifiers. The nature of the wetting agent and the

cosurfactant influence the stage diagram. In Fig. 3, a collaged comparing of four

different imposter stage diagrams with H2O, trichloromethane ( as oil ) and assorted different

wetting agents are presented. As seen, that the diagrams differ from one another in

regard of type and size.

Fig. 3. Ternary stage diagram for a ) H2O-AOT-CHCl3 ; B ) H2O-CPC-CHCl3 ; degree Celsiuss ) H2O-CTAB-CHCl3 and vitamin D ) H2O-TX-100-CHCl3 systems at 303 K. 1f, individual stage ; 2f two stage ; and 3f three stage

These wetting agents have different features e.g. , cetyltrimethylammonium

bromide ( CTAB ) is a cationic wetting agent, whereas Triton X-100 ( TX100 ) is a nonionized

wetting agent. Besides the type of wetting agent, the diagrams besides vary in their hydrophiplic

lipotropic balance ( HLB ) figure. A lower HLB figure indicates a lower hydrophilicity of the molecule. Systems with a low HLB by and large forms w/o microemulsions. Systems with high HLB signifier o/w microemulsions. This standard is besides true for emulsion formation.

In add-on to HLB, stage inversion temperature ( PIT ) and cohesive energy

ratio ( CER ) have been used to foretell the possibility of microemulsion formation.

The surfactant hydrophobic group should fit the oil construction: the better the lucifer,

the higher the possibility of a microemulsion formation. The stage inversion

temperature ( PIT ) can be used to find the type of oil, nature of microemulsion.

etc. The HLB figure of wetting agent is a map of temperature, and at a peculiar

temperature o/w microemulsion may alter over to w/o microemulsion. This passage temperature, called the PIT provides an thought about the chemical type

of emulsifier needed to fit a given oil. The HLB and PIT values correlate

with each other and an addition in HLB means an addition in PIT though the relation

is non additive. The cohesive energy ratio ( CER ) is another standard, which may find

the type of microemulsion formed. If the interaction parametric quantities between the lipophilic

group and oil, and the hydrophilic group and H2O are represented by CLO and CHW

severally, so when CL0/CHW & A ; gt ; 1, a w/o microemulsion is formed. For an o/w microemulsion, the ratio is less than 1. ( Moulik, S.P. , 2006 ) .

Microemulsions in nutrient industry

There has been a revolution in the last two decennaries in the use of microemulsion systems in a assortment of chemical and industrial procedures. Microemulsions have found legion applications in different Fieldss, such as: enhanced oil recovery, fuels, lubricators, cutting oils and corrosion inhibitors, coatings and fabric coating, detergence, cosmetics, agrochemicals, pharmaceuticals, environmental redress and detoxification, media synthesis, analytical applications, liquid membranes, biotechnology, nutrient.

Certain nutrients contain natural microemulsions. Microemulsions as a functional province of lipoids have been, hence, used in the readying of nutrients. Microemulsions form in the bowel during the digestion and soaking up of fat. The possibility of bring forthing microemulsion on intent and utilizing them as tools in nutrient production is, nevertheless, a ignored field in nutrient engineering. Excellent constituent solubilization, enriched reaction efficiency and extraction techniques have considerable potency in the country of nutrient engineering. The major differences between nutrient and other microemulsions are in the composing of the oil constituent and nutrient class wetting agents. In nutrients, the oil is a triglyceride, whereas in other microemulsions the oil is a hydrocarbon, frequently a mineral oil. The triglyceride molecule is itself surface active, which in bend implies that triglycerides are non capable of organizing separate oil sphere in an amphiphile-water system in the same manner as mineral oils. Therefore, the composing scope in the oil-water-surfactant systems that allows microemulsions to organize when the oil is a triglyceride is much smaller than the scope leting microemulsion formation when the oil is a hydrocarbon. Food class wetting agents, viz. phosphatidycholine ( lecithin ) , AOT and sorbatin monostearate/monolaurate ( Tweens ) have been extensively studied with respect to the formation of o/w and w/o microemulsions. Recently, Dungan ( 1997 ) reviewed current information on o/w and w/o microemulsion formed utilizing food-grade stuffs, complex nutrient mixture ( liquid crystal, gels ) , possibilities of integrating nutrient ingredients ( such as spirit, preservatives and vitamins ) within microemulsions, reactions carried out in microemulsions media and potency of microemulsions for pull outing nutrient constituents from a complex mixture. Larsson et Al. ( 1991 ) have focused on the cereal and comestible lipid systems that form microemulsions and their potencies. Recent research has shown that microemulsions of carnauba wax signifier better protective coatings on citrous fruit fruit than shellac, wood rosin, oxidized polyoxyethylene or mixtures of these substances with caranuba wax. The protective coatings minimise weight loss every bit good as internal oxidization. The fruit coated with the microemulsions of caranauba wax maintains a better visual aspect than other coatings after rinsing and drying. Microemulsions have besides been used to bring forth acylglycerols for application in nutrient merchandises. An of import application of microemulsion is to supply improved antioxidation effectivity because of the possibility of a interactive consequence between hydrophilic and lipotropic antioxidants. It is known that soybean oil is efficaciously protected when contained within an L2-phase produced by the add-on of monoglycerides ( sunflower oil monoglycerides ) to H2O. An about 1: 5 ratio of monoglycerides to triglycerides is needed to acquire adequate H2O into the L2-phase ( about 5 wt % ) . In such a system, 200 ppm of vitamin E in the oil and 5 % ascorbic acid in the contrary micelles give a dramatic antioxidant consequence compared to conventional methods of fade outing or scattering antioxidants in oils. In fish oils, the same microemulsion-based method to accomplish an antioxidant protective consequence has besides been used. Glycerol has been used alternatively of H2O for farther betterment of the protectivity. The consequence of adding assorted lipoids and propene ethanediol to monoolein ( acommon nutrient emulsifier ) -water system and the three-dimensional liquid crystal therefore formed undergoing a passage to a sponge or L3-phase have been reported. The construction of the squashy three-dimensional stage has been described as a ‘melted ‘ bicontinuous three-dimensional stage. Although considerable research has been conducted to demo the utility of microemulsions in nutrients, the application and engineering require farther work ( Moulik, S.P. , 2001 ) .


Because of their high grade of scattering ( and their really low size ) , microemulsions are a alone category of colloidal systems holding fresh belongingss. Both traditional and emerging techniques are required for their word picture and belongings elucidation. The legion applications of microemulsions mean that these microheterogeneous systems will go on to be a rich field for geographic expedition for scientists and will go on to make involvement among industrial engineers.

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