Understanding the crystallization behavior of fats and oils is essential to ensure certain desirable characteristics in a given industrial application. In recent years, some advances in the structuring of lipid phases have enabled a direct influence on the food properties. The structuring mechanisms of lipid bases can be classified as either conventional or unconventional. Conventional crystallization mechanisms consist of nucleation, growth, and maturation of the crystals, thus resulting in a crystalline lattice. Co-crystallization or seeding agents and emerging technologies such as ultrasound can be used to aid in crystallization and improve the physical properties of fats and oils. Unconventional mechanisms bring organogel technology as a trend, which consists in the use of self-assembly agents to entrap the liquid oil, resulting in a structured gel network. In this chapter, the formation process of crystalline networks and gel networks will be presented in stages, highlighting the main differences related to the mechanisms of formation and stabilization of both types of networks.
Part of the book: Crystal Growth