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How is Lecithin Powder Manufactured?

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Lecithin is a common ingredient in the food, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries. It effectively adds to the shelf life of products in each of these industries. Lecithin is also an excellent emulsifier, and that is why you will see it in most baked products. Lecithin comes as a liquid, granulated, and powdered lecithin, and each form is manufactured differently. However, powdered lecithin is the most preferred form, especially in the cosmetic industry.

Powder lecithin is lecithin mixed into a fine powder after all of the moisture has been removed. Because all of the natural oil has been removed, powder lecithin is often called oil-free lecithin. This form dissolves more quickly and efficiently than granules due to its fine nature.

Let’s expound more on how powder lecithin is manufactured and why it’s the most preferred type of lecithin.

The Four Stages of Making Powdered Lecithin

Powdered lecithin is extracted from soybean, egg yolk, rapeseed, sunflower, and other sources. These products have to be exposed to a rigorous process to get pure lecithin. However, harmful chemicals are not used in the extraction process. Therefore, avoid any manufacturer using toxic chemicals or genetically modified raw materials.

Here are the correct processes of manufacturing powdered lecithin:

Stage 1: Treatment

Like other phospholipids bound to phospholipid chains, lecithin can only be released by first treating them with certain alcohols. The level to which lecithin is bound to protein determines the ease of extraction. Lecithin is released when the protein is denatured with alcoholic solvents.

Stage 2: Extraction

To extract any lecithin, most manufacturers will use a solvent, in this case, acetone. Acetone is both a synthetic chemical and a naturally occurring substance. It’s colorless but with a distinct aroma and flavor. Acetone is used to precipitate the insoluble acetone from the lecithin following pre-treatment in a specifically constructed and efficient continuous countercurrent extraction method. This is a liquid-liquid extraction process.

Step 3: Acetone Recovery

After the extraction of the lecithin, the thick solid slurry known as the miscella is moved into a tank (miscella tank). The miscella then moved to a d-canter tank. Here, a high-speed centrifuge separates the acetone from the thick solid slurry.

This acetone is not treated as waste after the process. Instead, it’s pumped into a recovery system to recover the acetone for reuse upon completion of the extraction process.

The acetone recovery process makes sure that the lecithin is deoiled, leaving behind granulated lecithin. However, at this point, the lecithin is still wet and has to be dried before being crushed into powder.

To increase the degree of “deoiling,” acetone extraction must be repeated and the mixture vigorously agitated. To get acetone-wet lecithin, the polar lipids pushed out of solution in the form of an acetone insoluble “slurry” must be removed, including the top layer of acetone containing neutral lipids.

Step 4: Drying The Lecithin Solids

Acetone wet solids are dried in a two-stage continuous fluidized bed drier built for this purpose. The Drier is a fully automated device that includes a nitrogen generator. After the drying process, the lecithin powder is sieved and packaged.

The manufacturing of powdered lecithin may seem lengthy and complex. Still, once you have it in powdered form, you can enjoy more benefits, unlike when you use granulated or liquid lecithin.

The difference Between Powdered lecithin and Granulated Lecithin

The main differences between the two lie in the usage and nutritional values. The calories in lecithin powder and granules are quite minimal. A tablespoon of lecithin powder has 50 calories, but a tablespoon of lecithin granules has 80 calories. The fat content of the granules is somewhat larger, at 8 grams per serving against 2.5 grams in a serving of powder.

Many people add commercially available lecithin powder or granules made mostly from soybeans to milkshakes and smoothies. Soy lecithin powder is treated to remove the soy component that has estrogen-like properties. This makes it a suitable option for patients who have been told to avoid soy because of its hormone-related effects, such as those who have breast cancer. These estrogen-like chemicals are present in lecithin granules.

How To Store Powdered Lecithin

If you are going to use powdered lecithin for your baking, to prevent clogged ducts, smooth skin, and many other functions, you will need to get your powdered lecithin in bulk. Buying in bulk means that you save money and save on the time you might have otherwise used to source for small quantities. However, to ensure that your powdered lecithin doesn’t form clumps and serves you well, you need to store it well.

Powdered lecithin loves moisture, and that’s why it does its job so well by dissolving easily compared to granules. For this reason, you need to ensure that the powdered lecithin does not come into contact with water in any way. To do this, store it in a cool and dry place.

Apart from coming into contact with water, powdered soy lecithin can also capture moisture from the air. To avoid those, ensure that you get well packaged powdered lecithin so that you can keep it closed after use. Consider transferring your powdered lecithin to an airtight container if the original packaging is compromised.

Bottom Line

Powdered lecithin also has more hydrophilic properties, making it a good solvent. Industries find powdered lecithin very good in dissolving other products, unlike any other form of lecithin. On the other hand, Liquid Lecithin has more lipophilic properties, making it hard to dissolve ingredients. However, it is a good ingredient for high-fat content recipes.

Whether you want to use powder lecithin for your cooking, baking, cosmetics, or paint industry, lecithin is one ingredient you need to be better than your competition. You need to source from a trusted and reliable company for the best-powdered lecithin or any other form of lecithin. Sourcing from a licensed supplier will prevent issues such as low quality or the presence of harmful chemicals introduced during the manufacturing process. A reputable supplier will always have the consumer in mind!

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