BslA-stabilized emulsion droplets with designed microstructure

Keith M. Bromley, Cait E. MacPhee*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Emulsions are a central component of many modern formulations in food, pharmaceuticals, agrichemicals and personal care products. The droplets in these formulations are limited to being spherical as a consequence of the interfacial tension between the dispersed phase and continuous phase. The ability to control emulsion droplet morphology and stabilize non-spherical droplets would enable the modification of emulsion properties such as stability, substrate binding, delivery rate and rheology. One way of controlling droplet microstructure is to apply an elastic film around the droplet to prevent it from relaxing into a sphere. We have previously shown that BslA, an interfacial protein produced by the bacterial genus Bacillus, forms an elastic film when exposed to an oil-or air-water interface. Here, we highlight BslA's ability to stabilize anisotropic emulsion droplets. First, we show that BslA is capable of arresting dynamic emulsification processes leading to emulsions with variable morphologies depending on the conditions and emulsification technique applied. We then show that frozen emulsion droplets can be manipulated to induce partial coalescence. The structure of the partially coalesced droplets is retained after melting, but only when there is sufficient free BslA in the continuous phase. That the fidelity of replication can be tuned by adjusting the amount of free BslA in solution suggests that freezing BslA-stabilized droplets disrupts the BslA film. Finally, we use BslA's ability to preserve emulsion droplet structural integrity throughout the melting process to design emulsion droplets with a chosen shape and size.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20160124
Number of pages8
JournalInterface Focus
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 6 Aug 2017


  • BslA
  • emulsions
  • microstructure
  • interfacial stabilization
  • arrested coalescence
  • SIZE


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