Transglutaminase-Induced Free-Fat Yogurt Gels Supplemented with Tarragon Essential Oil-Loaded Nanoemulsions : Development, Optimization, Characterization, Bioactivity, and Storability

There is a high demand for designing healthy-functional dairy gels with a newly structured protein network in the food industry. Non-fat yogurt gels enriched with stable tarragon essential oil-nanoemulsions (TEO-NEs) using crosslinking of microbial transglutaminase (MTGase) were developed. The gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis showed that methyl chavicol (85.66%) was the major component in TEO extracted by the hydrodistillation process. The storage-dependent droplet size and physicochemical stability data of samples at room temperature for 30 days revealed that the TEO-NE containing 0.5% tween-80 and 1:2 TEO/sunflower oil had the lowest peroxide value and droplet growth ratio. The response surface methodology-based formulation optimization of free-fat yogurt gels using MTGase (0.15–0.85 U/g) and the best TEO-NE (0.5–3.02%) using the fitted second-order polynomial models proved that the combination of 0.87% TEO-NE and 0.70 U/g MTGase led to the desired pH (4.569) and acidity (88.3% lactic acid), minimum syneresis (27.03 mL/100 g), and maximum viscosity (6.93 Pa s) and firmness (0.207 N) responses. Scanning electron microscopy images visualized that the MTGase-induced crosslinks improved the gel structure to increase the firmness and viscosity with a reduction in the syneresis rate. The optimal yogurt gel as a nutritious diet not only provided the highest organoleptic scores but also maintained its storage-related quality with the lowest mold/yeast growth and free-radical oxidation changes


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