What is lecithin?
Lecithin is a general term used to denote any group of yellow-brown fatty substances that occur in amphiphilic animal and plant tissues. They attract both water and oily substances. Hence, they are both hydrophilic and lipophilic. They are used to soften food textures, homogenize liquid mixtures and repel sticky materials.
Lecithins are mixtures of glycerophospholipids, including phosphatidylcholine, phosphatidylethanolamine, phosphatidylinositol, phosphatidylserine, and phosphatidic acid.
Lecithin was first purified in 1845 by the French chemist and pharmacist Théodore Gobley. In 1850 he named phosphatidylcholine lecithin. Gobley originally isolated lecithin from egg yolk lecithin – lecithin means egg yolk in Ancient Greek – and in 1874 formed the full chemical formula of phosphatidylcholine. Gobley had demonstrated the presence of lecithin in venous blood, human lungs, bile, human brain tissue, and various biological substances, including fish eggs, chicken and sheep brains.
Lecithin can be easily extracted chemically using solvents such as hexane, ethanol, acetone, petroleum ether or benzene; or the extraction can be done mechanically. It can usually be obtained from sources such as egg yolk, marine sources, soybeans, milk, rapeseed, cottonseed and sunflower oil. It has low water solubility, but is an excellent emulsifier. In aqueous solution, its phospholipids can form liposomes, bilayers, micelles, or layered structures depending on hydration and temperature. This yields a type of surfactant that is often classified as amphipathic. Lecithin is sold on the market as a food additive and nutritional supplement. In cooking, it is sometimes used as an emulsifier and to prevent sticking, for example in non-stick cooking spray.
Lecithins have emulsifying and lubricating properties and are a surfactant. They can be completely metabolized by humans (see inositol), therefore they are well tolerated by humans and are non-toxic when ingested; some other emulsifiers can only be excreted via the kidneys.
How is lecithin produced?
Commercial lecithin used by food manufacturers is a mixture of phospholipids in oil. Lecithin can be obtained by degumming the oil of the extracted seeds with water. It is a mixture of various phospholipids and the composition depends on the origin of the lecithin. The main source of lecithin is soybean oil. Soy and sunflower are phosphatidyl choline, phosphatidyl inositol, phosphatidyl ethanolamine, phosphatidylserine and phosphatidic acid. They are often abbreviated as PC, PI, PE, PS, and PA, respectively. Purified phospholipids are commercially produced by companies.
What does lecithin look like?
It has a liquid, brown appearance.
What is the molecular formula of lecithin?
Molecular Formula: C35H66NO7P
In which sectors is lecithin used?
- food industry
- pharmaceutical industry
- animal food
- paint industry
- Plastic, fuel industries
What are the uses (processes) of lecithin?
- Lecithin is used for human food, animal feed, pharmaceuticals, dyes and other industrial applications.
- In the pharmaceutical industry, it acts as a wetting agent, stabilizing agent and choline enrichment carrier, helps emulsification and encapsulation, and is a good dispersing agent. It can be used in the manufacture of intravenous oil infusions and for therapeutic use.
- It enriches fat and protein in animal feeds and improves pelletization.
- In the paint industry, it creates protective coatings for paint and printing ink surfaces, has antioxidant properties, helps as a rust inhibitor, is a color intensifying agent, catalyst, softening co-regulator and dispersing aid; It is a good stabilizing and suspending agent, emulsifier and wetting agent, helps maintain homogeneous mixture of several pigments, helps grind metal oxide pigments, aids spreading and mixing, prevents pigments from hardening, eliminates foam in water. It helps to disperse fast based paints and latex based paints.
- Lecithin can also be used as a release agent for plastics, an anti-sludge additive in motor oils, an anti-gum agent in gasoline, and an emulsifier, spreading agent and antioxidant in the textile, rubber and other industries.
- The non-toxicity of lecithin makes it possible to use it with food, as an additive or in food preparation. The European Union food additive number is E322. It is used commercially as a natural emulsifier or lubricating agent.
- It reduces viscosity in confectionery, replaces more expensive ingredients, controls sugar crystallization and flow properties of chocolate, aids in homogeneous mixing of ingredients, extends shelf life for some products, and can be used as a coating.
- %75’in üzerinde yüksek yağ içeriğine sahip margarinler gibi emülsiyonlarda ve yağ sürülebilir ürünlerde, emülsiyonları stabilize eder, kızartma sırasında sıçramayı (sıçrayan ve yağ damlacıklarının saçılmasını) azaltır, sürülebilir ürünlerin dokusunu ve lezzet salınımını iyileştirir.
- It reduces the need for oil and eggs in doughs and baking, helps even out the distribution of ingredients in the dough, stabilizes fermentation, increases volume, protects yeast cells in dough when frozen, and acts as a release agent that prevents sticking and makes cleaning easier. It improves the wetting properties of hydrophilic powders (such as low-fat proteins) and lipophilic powders (such as cocoa powder), controls dust and aids complete dispersion in water.
- Lecithin inhibits the separation of cocoa and cocoa butter in a candy bar. It can be used as a component of cooking sprays and as a release agent to prevent sticking.
- Because it contains phosphatidylcholines, lecithin is a source of choline, an essential nutrient. Clinical studies have shown benefit in acne, improving liver function and lowering cholesterol, but older clinical studies on dementia and dyskinesias have found no benefit.
- The La Leche League recommends using Lecithin to prevent clogged or blocked milk ducts that can lead to mastitis in breastfeeding women.
- Egg-derived lecithin should not generally be a cause for concern for those with egg allergies, as commercially available egg lecithin is highly purified and lacks allergy-causing egg proteins.
What is the Selling Price of Lecithin?
You can call us to find out the current lecithin sales prices and take advantage of the best prices.
Where Can I Buy Lecithin?
As SoleChem Kimya, we sell and supply lecithin.