Controlled production of oil-in-water emulsions containing unrefined pumpkin seed oil using stirred cell membrane emulsification

Membrane emulsification of unrefined pumpkin seed oil was performed using microengineered flat disc membranes on top of which a paddle blade stirrer was operated to induce surface shear. The membranes used were fabricated by galvanic deposition of nickel onto a photolithographic template and contained hexagonal arrays of uniform cylindrical pores with a diameter of 19 or 40 mu m and a pore spacing of 140 mu m. The uniformly sized pumpkin seed oil drops with span values less than 0.4 were obtained at oil fluxes up to 640 L m(-2) h(-1) using 2 wt.% Tween 20 (polyoxyethylene sorbitan monolaurate) or 2-10 wt.% Pluronic F-68 (polyoxyethylene-polyoxypropylen copolymer) as an aqueous surfactant solution. Pumpkin seed oil is rich in surface active ingredients that can be adsorbed on the membrane surface, such as free fatty acids, phospholipids, and chlorophyll. The adsorption of these components on the membrane surface gradually led to membrane wetting by the oil phase and the formation of uniform drops was achieved only for dispersed phase contents less than 10 vol.% At high oil fluxes, Pluronic F-68 molecules present at a concentration of 2 wt.% could not adsorb fast enough, on the newly formed oil drops, to stabilise the expanding inter-face. (c) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.