Effect of emulsifier and viscosity on oil separation in ready-to-use therapeutic food

M. Isabel Ordiz, Kelsey N. Ryan, Elizabeth D. Cimo, Margo E. Stoner, Margaret E. Loehnig, Mark J. Manary

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Oil separation is a common food quality problem in ready-to-use therapeutic food (RUTF), the shelf-stable, peanut-based food used to treat severe acute malnutrition in home settings. Our objective was to evaluate the effect on oil separation of three emulsifiers at different concentrations in RUTF. We also assessed two viscosity measurements. A scale-up experiment was carried out during full-scale RUTF production in Malawi. Results indicate that viscosity is inversely correlated with oil separation, and that the Bostwick consistometer is a simple, useful tool to predict viscosity. Oil separation in RUTF may be mitigated by use of an emulsifier, which increases the viscosity of the product. The emulsifier that reduced oil separation to the greatest extent was a mixture of high and low monoacylglycerol (MAG) emulsifiers. Proper raw material quality control to achieve consistent ingredient fat level and fat type, and production temperature and shearing control should be a focus in RUTF manufacturing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)642-648
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2015


  • Bostwick consistometer
  • Brookfield viscometer
  • Diacylglycerol
  • Monoacylglycerol


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