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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Food Science

Degree Type

Master of Science (M.S.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Emulsion-based delivery systems offer many potential benefits for incorporating omega-3 oils into foods and beverages. Nanoemulsions are emulsion-based delivery systems that are gaining popularity because of their ease of preparation, small particle size, relatively high stability, high bioavailability, and production of optically transparent emulsions. Fish oil (FO) nanoemulsions are potentially more susceptible to lipid oxidation because of their high degree of lipid unsaturation, high surface area of exposed lipids, and greater light penetration. In the first study, spontaneous emulsification, a low-energy method, was used to fabricate FO nanoemulsions. The influence of surfactant-to-oil-ratio (SOR) on particle size, turbidity, and physical stability was evaluated. Furthermore, the oxidative stability of these nanoemulsions was compared to emulsions produced by microfluidizer, a high-energy method. The effect of particle size and SOR on oxidation was monitored by measuring lipid hydroperoxides and thiobarbituric acid reactive substances (TBARS). Optically transparent nanoemulsions were formed and maintained physical stability after being held at 37 °C for 14 days. FO nanoemulsions produced by high- and low-energy methods had similar oxidative stabilities at 55 °C for 14 days. These results demonstrate that spontaneous emulsification can produce fish oil nanoemulsion that are physically stable and oxidize at similar rates as traditionally prepared nanoemulsions, and are therefore potentially suitable for fortification of clear food systems. Additionally, carrier oils can also impact the physical and oxidative stability of FO nanoemulsions. Medium chain triglycerides, lemon oil, and thyme oil were chosen as carrier oils and added to the oil phase at different ratios of FO to carrier oil for emulsions produced by the microfluidizer. Medium chain triglycerides and lemon oil produced stable FO nanoemulsions but the thyme oil only produced stable FO nanoemulsions at lower concentrations of carrier oil. On the other hand, at FO to carrier oil ratios of 75/25, lemon oil and thyme oil nanoemulsions had high oxidative stability because of natural of their antioxidants. These findings suggest that lemon oil and thyme oil can produce FO nanoemulsions that are physically and chemically stable and can be used for food system fortification.


First Advisor

David Julian McClements