Flaxseed gum (FG) is a by-product of flax (Linum usitatissimum L.) meal production that is useful as a food thickener, emulsifier, and foaming agent. FG is typically recovered by hot-water extraction from flaxseed hull or whole seed. However, FG includes complex polymer structures that contain bioactive compounds. Therefore, extraction temperature can play an important role in determining its functional properties, solution appearance, and solution stability during storage. These characteristics of FG, including FG quality, determine its commercial value and utility. In this study, FG solution functional properties and storage stability were investigated for solutions prepared at 70 and 98 °C. Solutions of FG prepared at 98 °C had lower initial viscosity than solutions extracted at 70 °C; though the viscosity of these solutions was more stable during storage. Solutions prepared by extraction at both tested temperatures exhibited similar tolerance to 0.1 mol/L salt addition and freeze-thaw cycles. Moreover, the higher extraction temperature produced a FG solution with superior foaming and emulsification properties, and these properties were more stable with storage. Foams and emulsions produced from FG extracted at higher temperatures also had better stability. FG extracted at 98 °C displayed improved stability and consistent viscosity, foamability, and emulsification properties in comparison to solutions prepared at 70 °C. Therefore, the FG solution extracted at 98 °C had more stable properties and, potentially, higher commercial value. This result indicates that FG performance as a commercial food additive can influence food product quality.
Keywords: Linum usitatissimum L., flaxseed; emulsification; foamability; freeze-thaw; gum.