Complex formation in mixtures of lysozyme-stabilized emulsions and human saliva

J Colloid Interface Sci. 2007 Sep 15;313(2):485-93. doi: 10.1016/j.jcis.2007.05.030. Epub 2007 May 18.


In this paper, we studied the interaction between human unstimulated saliva and lysozyme-stabilized oil-in-water emulsions (10 wt/wt% oil phase, 10 mM NaCl, pH 6.7), to reveal the driving force for flocculation of these emulsions. Confocal scanning laser microscopy (CSLM) showed formation of complexes between salivary proteins and lysozyme adsorbed at the oil-water interface and lysozyme in solution as well. To assess the electrostatic nature of the interaction in emulsion/saliva mixtures, laser-diffraction and rheological measurements were conducted in function of the ionic strength by adding NaCl to the mixture in the range between 0 and 168 mM. Increasing the ionic strength reduced the ability of saliva to induce emulsion flocculation as shown by the decreased floc size and the effect on the viscosity. Turbidity experiments with varying pH (3-7) and ionic strength also showed decreased complex formation in mixtures between saliva and lysozyme in solution upon NaCl addition up to 200 mM. Decreasing the pH increased the turbidity, in line with the increase of the positive net charge on the lysozyme molecule. We conclude that electrostatic attraction is the main driving force for complex formation between saliva components and lysozyme adsorbed at the oil droplets and in solution.

MeSH terms

  • Adsorption
  • Animals
  • Chickens
  • Emulsions / chemistry
  • Enzyme Stability
  • Flocculation
  • Humans
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Muramidase / chemistry*
  • Phase Transition*
  • Plant Oils / chemistry*
  • Rheology
  • Saliva / chemistry*
  • Sodium Chloride / chemistry
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Viscosity
  • Water / chemistry*


  • Emulsions
  • Plant Oils
  • Sunflower Oil
  • Water
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Muramidase