• Lecithin Food

Liquid Lecithin vs Powdered Lecithin: Different Properties and Uses

Lecithin's amphiphilic nature has increased its demand in the manufacturing industry. Its versatility makes it useable in various forms in a variety of manufacturing industries. Exploration of lecithin's properties has revealed astonishing benefits. It is truly a gift of nature. A single ingredient that can perform various functionalities whilst providing stability.

Lecithin can be used as an excipient, stabilizer, emulsifier, surfactant, etc. Being a key component, it has grasped so much traction that lecithin is now commercially produced for industrial use.

It is extracted from different natural sources. Soybean and sunflower lecithin are among the most popularly used, thanks in part to their abundance. Apart from different sources, it can also be acquired in different forms. 

Different Forms of Lecithin

Lecithin is sold in four primary forms for industrial use, namely liquid, granulated, gel, and powdered. Among the four, the two most commonly used forms are liquid and powdered. But, do these two forms carry different properties? And do they have different usage?

Let’s try and find an answer to these questions. The consistency and water-oil percentage of the product mixture will determine which form of Lecithin is suitable for emulsion. Both, liquid and powdered, forms are produced to serve a specific purpose. Adding the wrong form of lecithin into a mixture without understanding its function can lead to poor product quality.

Here’s all the information you need to know which form, between the two, is right for your business.

Liquid Lecithin

Liquid Lecithin is lipophilic. It is suitable for the emulsion of fat-based mixtures. In appearance, it is light brown or yellow colour with little to no odour and has a bland taste. Its consistency is runnier than honey and can be a little messy to handle. The spills of liquid Lecithin are not easily removed. Its viscous nature often leads to hard clean-up and messy removal of the remains. It is advisable to use greased utensils and surfaces for mixing the ingredients with liquid lecithin as it will make cleaning easier. Although liquid lecithin can slightly darken the colour of the mixture, a tiny amount usually does not affect much.

Usage

Since it is already in liquid form, it does not need to be dissolved to be used, unlike powdered lecithin. Mixtures with high-fat contents are emulsified or stabilized by adding liquid lecithin. This form is used in the following industrial application:

  • Pharmaceutical Industry: For stabilizing medicated creams, skin lotions, and ointments. 
  • Cosmetics: Acts as an antioxidant, dispersing agent for pigments, and locks moisture. 
  • Confectionery and Edible Items: Combines oil/butter content of chocolate/confectionery items, enhances stability, and prolongs shelf-life. 

A few lesser-known uses of liquid lecithin are its application in agricultural product manufacturing and animal feed preparation.

Powdered Lecithin

Powdered Lecithin has hydrophilic properties. It is more refined than granules and is the most commonly used form of lecithin. Powdered lecithin is de-oiled lecithin and has lower fat content compared to liquid lecithin. It has a light yellow colour. One way it differentiates from liquid lecithin is that it does not affect the colour of the mixture or the final product.

Powdered lecithin is easier to clean after. Also, due to its low-fat content, powdered lecithin is considered healthier. 

Usage

It is vital to dissolve powdered lecithin fully, or else the residue will clump up and create an unpleasant texture in the mixture. Powdered lecithin is usually used in the following ways:

  • Dietary Supplements: Improves health and battles with various ailments.
  • Edible Items: Stabilizes bread formation and enhances the texture of multiple dressings, sauces, and chewing gums. 
  • Capsules and tablets: Works as a releasing agent for capsules and as a dispersing agent in oral tablets.

Can Both Be Used Interchangeably?

A common concern among manufacturers is the availability of lecithin in its required form. This concern has raised the question of whether both liquid and powdered lecithin can be used interchangeably or not. 

It is advised to use the recommended form as per your recipe. Switching to other lecithin forms may increase the chances of instability in the product.  

Can Powdered Lecithin Be Converted into Liquid Lecithin?

One of the main differences between powdered and liquid lecithin is the percentage of fat content. As already discussed, liquid lecithin has a more significant fat presence than powdered lecithin. Even if diluted into a liquid state, powdered lecithin will not have the same amount of fat percentage, since its fat content is removed during the degumming process. 

Choosing the Right Lecithin Form for Your Product

Liquid lecithin is suitable when the mixture is oil and fat-based. The lipophilic lecithin will infuse the fat molecules, creating a soluble oil and water mixture. Adding liquid lecithin to a water-based mixture will repel the various components leading to clumps and separation of particles.

Powdered lecithin is suitable for the water-based blend. They improve dispersion in water and can act as an emulsifier, thickener, stabilizer, and a releasing agent. Powdered lecithin is more preferred due to its lower cost of packaging, shipment, and easy storage.

To cater to your lecithin needs, LECITEIN offers a wide range of lecithin in every form and an expert team to assist you with professional advice. We provide both GMO and non-GMO lecithin and proteins. You name it, and we have it. We value your time and envision the sustainability of your business so you can cherish your booming business without worry.

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