Physico-Chemical Changes of Composite Whey Protein Hydrogels in Simulated Gastric Fluid Conditions
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Polysaccharide blended whey protein isolate (WPI) hydrogels were developed for the delivery of black carrot (Daucus carota) concentrate as bioactive agent in simulated gastric fluid (SGF). Pectin (PC), gum tragacanth (GT), and xanthan gum (XG) were blended as additional polymers to modulate the release characteristics of the WPI hydrogels. Experiments showed that sole whey protein (C), XG, and GT blended hydrogels possessed restricted release profiles 67%, 61%, and 67%, respectively, whereas PC samples attained higher release rates (83%) (p < 0.05). Interactions between polymers and aqueous medium were analyzed by nuclear magnetic resonance relaxometry. C (82 ms) and GT (84 ms) hydrogels attained higher T-2 values than PC (74 ms) and XG (73 ms) samples in SGF. Hardness of only XG hydrogels increased from 1.9 to 4.1 N after gastric treatment. Physicochemical changes within hydrogels during release were also investigated, and hydrogels were proved to be appropriate for desired delivery purposes.