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Limonene can improve quality of reduced fat chocolate – study

By Oliver Nieburg , 25-May-2012

The oil extract limonene can improve the final product quality of reduced fat chocolate, according to researchers.

The study ‘Effect of Limonene on the Crystallization of Cocoa Butter’ published in the Journal of American Oil Chemists’ Society claims to have taken a step towards improving the sensory properties of reduced fat chocolate.

Softer and lower melt viscosity

Researchers Joydeep Ray et. al said: “The formulation of reduced fat chocolate has been of interest to the confectionery industry for a considerable time.”

“It presents a challenge, as fat reduction strategies are often accompanied by poor quality of the formulated product due to an increased viscosity of the molten chocolate. This causes difficulties during processing and poor sensory properties of the final product. “

“The addition of limonene to chocolates leads to fat reduced chocolates that are less hard and have a lower melt viscosity.”

Method and findings

The researchers conducted x-ray diffraction, differential scanning calorimetry and polarized light microscopy on samples of cocoa butter containing limonene at a level of 5g/100g.

Limone was seen to enhance the production of lower polymorphic forms on cooling but could accelerate the transformation to more stable polymorphic forms.

Nestle’s interest

Confectionery giant Nestle appears to have its hand in this research. Two of the researchers, Peng Siong Chong and Joselio Viera work in the Nestle Product Technology Centre in York, UK and samples used in the research were also prepared at this facility.

The research sheds light on two previous studies by Do Tal et al. and Beckett ST on the potential of limonene in reduced fat chocolate.

What is Limonene?

Food grade d-Limonene is used as a food flavour. Itnaturally present in various ethereal oils of lemon, orange, grapefruit, mandarin, caraway, dill and bergamot.

Beckett ST’s previous study suggested that chocolate containing limonene gives an orange flavour.

Joydeep Ray, William MacNaughtan, Peng Siong Chong, Josélio Vieira, Bettina Wolf (2012) ‘Effect of Limonene on the Crystallization of Cocoa Butter,’ Journal of American Oil Chemists’ Society, March 2012, Volume 89, Issue 3, pp 437-445, DOI: 10.1007/s11746-011-1934-5

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