LECITHIN – A MULTI-
Lecithin is a chemical compound primarily composed of fatty acids, glycerine, phosphoric acid and choline and which is classed as one of the phospholipids. It is an entirely natural product that occurs particularly abundantly in egg yolks, soya beans, sunflower seeds and the cells of plant seeds. Soya and sunflower lecithin contain significantly more essential fatty acids the rapeseed lecithin and are therefore more valuable from a nutritional physiology perspective.
The main job of lecithin is to stabilise cell membranes, trigger a series of metabolic processes, support the regeneration of liver cells and much more. Synthetic substitutes, which even only approximate the same properties, have so far not been discovered.
Because lecithin combines with fats and oils just as well as with water, it is the ideal emulsifier. Immiscible substances such as oil and water become stable emulsions thanks to lecithin. This property is used for the production of chocolate and cocoa powder, spreadable margarine and non-splashing fats as well as crispy baked goods.
Appetising aromas also last significantly longer thanks to the addition of lecithin. Lecithin literally allows their ingredients to be enclosed inside droplets of oil. Aromas can therefore be virtually 'encapsulated' and transported. This benefits low-fat foods, as it can give them an intense flavour. The anti-oxidative properties of lecithin also prolong the shelf life of food.
The multi-functional emulsifier and dispersing agent lecithin is used not just in the food industry, however, but also in the production of cosmetic and pharmaceutical products, as well as animal feed production and technology.