Final Thesis

Production of monodisperse protein gel-particles via droplep-based microfluidics

Key Info

Basic Information

Soft Matter Process Engineering
Focus/Key Topic:


Casein micelles are soft, complex biocolloids derived from milk. They have a broad range of applications in the food and pharmaceutical industry. They are, on the one hand, raw material of a number of gelled foods such as yogurt or cheese, but can also be functionalised to carriers for biofunctional ingredients and medicaments. In the primary phase of the enzyme-induced coagulation of casein micelles, the stabilizing κ-casein brush of the micelles is cut by the lab enzyme. The resulting para-casein micelles lose their colloidal stability and aggregate in the second phase of the process. If the hydrolysis is carried out at low temperatures, para-casein micelles can be kept in solution in an unaggregated state. In this work, monodisperse droplets loaded with para-casein micelles are to be generated in a microfluidic approach. By targeted temperature increase within the channel, the coagulation of the micelles is induced and casein microparticles are generated [1].

Within the scope of the work:

  • Microfluidic chips for droplet formation shall be fabricated,
  • a suitable method for targeted temperature control within the microfluidic channels shall be developed,
  • the coagulation kinetics shall be investigated by photometric measurements,
  • the influence of different milieu (pH, ionic strenght) and process conditions (temperature, flow conditions, ...) during particle fabrication on the particle properties shall be examined.

The work includes literature research, experimental lab work, as well as the interpretation of the collected data.

[1]: Heidebach, T.; Först, P.; Kulozik, U. (2009): Microencapsulation of probiotic cells by means of rennet-gelation of milk proteins. In: Food Hydrocolloids 23 (7), S. 1670–1677.