Document Type : Review Article


1 Department of Food Science and Technology, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

2 Department of Hygiene, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Aquatic Animal Health, Iranian Fisheries Research Organization, Tehran, Iran


In recent years, there has been an increasing interest in the utilization of emulsion and food-grade nanoemulsions and their fabrication methods, and methods have evolved in the food industry and other fields. Emulsions, according to droplet diameter and stability, are divided into three important groups of conventional emulsions, nanoemulsions, and microemulsions; therefore, nanoemulsions are a class of emulsions. The small and fine size of the droplet in nanoemulsions (i.e. droplet diameter <100nm) make them applicable in some fields, due to their enhanced bioavailability, solubility, better stability against gravitational separation, appropriateness for delivery of lipophilic active agent’s components, high surface area per unit volume and antimicrobial property. Also, they need less surfactant in comparison with other constructions. There are many kinds of preparation methods that can be classified into low-intensity and high-intensity approaches. The basis of the high-intensity procedure is mechanical energy that comes from flows like cavitation, but the low-intensity procedure is based on physicochemical processes. The most notable ways in high-energy emulsification are high-pressure valve homogenization, microfluidization, ultrasonication, rotor-stator emulsification, and membrane emulsification. Low-energy emulsification is divided into thermal and isothermal methods for nanoemulsions fabrication. Thermal methods consist of phase inversion temperature (PIT) and isothermal methods consist of spontaneous emulsification (SE) and emulsion phase inversion (EPI). Also, today, there is a lot of evidence to compare the low-intensity approach with high-intensity one and some of them express that in the low-energy method, equipment is not expensive and special and this is a very important advantage in saving energy. Also, some researchers express that in the high-energy method, we need much less concentration of surfactant for the formation of small size droplet.


  1. McClements DJ. Food emulsions: principles, practices, and techniques: CRC press; 2015.
  2. McClements DJ. Emulsion design to improve the delivery of functional lipophilic components. Annual Review of Food Science and Technology. 2010;1:241-69.
  3. Tadros TF, Vandamme A, Levecke B, Booten K, Stevens C. Stabilization of emulsions using polymeric surfactants based on inulin. Advances in Colloid and Interface Science. 2004;108:207-26.
  4. Pey C, Maestro A, Solé I, González C, Solans C, Gutiérrez JM. Optimization of nano-emulsions prepared by low-energy emulsification methods at constant temperature using a factorial design study. Colloids and Surfaces A: Physicochemical and Engineering Aspects. 2006;288(1-3):144-50.
  5. McClements DJ, Xiao H. Potential biological fate of ingested nanoemulsions: influence of particle characteristics. Food & Function. 2012;3(3):202-20.
  6. Jafari SM, McClements DJ. Nanoemulsions: Formulation, applications, and characterization: Academic Press; 2018.
  7. McClements DJ. Biopolymers in food emulsions. Modern Biopolymer Science: Elsevier; 2009. p. 129-66.
  8. Wooster TJ, Golding M, Sanguansri P. Impact of oil type on nanoemulsion formation and Ostwald ripening stability. Langmuir. 2008;24(22):12758-65.
  9. Kesisoglou F, Panmai S, Wu Y. Application of nanoparticles in oral delivery of immediate release formulations. Current Nanoscience. 2007;3(2):183-90.
  10. Komaiko JS, McClements DJ. Formation of food‐grade nanoemulsions using low‐energy preparation methods: A review of available methods. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety. 2016;15(2):331-52.
  11. Garti N, Benichou A. Recent developments in double emulsions for food applications. Food Emulsions. 2004;35.
  12. Van der Sman R, Van der Graaf S. Diffuse interface model of surfactant adsorption onto flat and droplet interfaces. Rheologica Acta. 2006;46(1):3-11.
  13. McClements D. Fabrication, characterization and properties of food nanoemulsions.  Nanotechnology in the Food, Beverage and Nutraceutical Industries: Elsevier; 2012. p. 293-316.
  14. Solans C, Esquena J, Forgiarini AM, Uson N, Morales D, Izquierdo P, et al. Nano-emulsions: formation, properties, and applications. Surfactant Science Series. 2003;109:525-54.
  15. Lu WC, Huang DW, Wang CC, Yeh CH, Tsai JC, Huang YT, et al. Preparation, characterization, and antimicrobial activity of nanoemulsions incorporating citral essential oil. Journal of Food and Drug Analysis. 2018;26(1):82-9.
  16. Wang G. Nanotechnology: The new features. arXiv preprint arXiv:181204939. 2018.
  17. Tadros T, Izquierdo P, Esquena J, Solans C. Formation and stability of nano-emulsions. Advances in Colloid and Interface Science. 2004;108:303-18.
  18. Ozturk B, Argin S, Ozilgen M, McClements DJ. Formation and stabilization of nanoemulsion-based vitamin E delivery systems using natural surfactants: Quillaja saponin and lecithin. Journal of Food Engineering. 2014;142:57-63.
  19. Jafari SM, He Y, Bhandari B. Optimization of nano-emulsions production by microfluidization. European Food Research and Technology. 2007;225(5-6):733-41.
  20. Mortensen HH, Calabrese RV, Innings F, Rosendahl L. Characteristics of batch rotor–stator mixer performance elucidated by shaft torque and angle resolved PIV measurements. The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering. 2011;89(5):1076-95.
  21. Quintanilla-Carvajal MX, Camacho-Díaz BH, Meraz-Torres LS, Chanona-Pérez JJ, Alamilla-Beltrán L, Jimenéz-Aparicio A, et al. Nanoencapsulation: a new trend in food engineering processing. Food Engineering Reviews. 2010;2(1):39-50.
  22. Sanguansri P, Augustin MA. Nanoscale materials development–a food industry perspective. Trends in Food Science and Technology. 2006;17(10):547-56.
  23. Feng H, Yang W. Ultrasonic processing.  Nonthermal processing technologies for food: Wiley-Blackwell and IFT Press, UK; 2011. p. 135-54.
  24. Leong T, Juliano P, Knoerzer K. Advances in ultrasonic and megasonic processing of foods. Food Engineering Reviews. 2017;9(3):237-56.
  25. Piacentini E, Drioli E, Giorno L. Membrane emulsification technology: Twenty-five years of inventions and research through patent survey. Journal of Membrane Science. 2014;468:410-22.
  26. Anton N, Vandamme TF. The universality of low-energy nano-emulsification. International journal of pharmaceutics. 2009;377(1-2):142-7.
  27. Date AA, Desai N, Dixit R, Nagarsenker M. Self-nanoemulsifying drug delivery systems: formulation insights, applications and advances. Nanomedicine. 2010;5(10):1595-616.
  28. Bouchemal K, Briançon S, Perrier E, Fessi H. Nano-emulsion formulation using spontaneous emulsification: solvent, oil and surfactant optimization. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 2004;280(1-2):241-51.
  29. Zhang T, Xu Z, Cai Z, Guo Q. Phase inversion of ionomer-stabilized emulsions to form high internal phase emulsions (HIPEs). Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics. 2015;17(24):16033-9.
  30. Hategekimana J, Zhong F. Degradation of vitamin E in nanoemulsions during storage as affected by temperature, light and darkness. International Journal of Food Engineering. 2015;11(2):199-206.
  31. Jahanzad F, Crombie G, Innes R, Sajjadi S. Catastrophic phase inversion via formation of multiple emulsions: a prerequisite for formation of fine emulsions. Chemical Engineering Research and Design. 2009;87(4):492-8.
  32. Saberi AH, McClements DJ. Fabrication of protein nanoparticles and microparticles within water domains formed in surfactant–oil–water mixtures: Phase inversion temperature method. Food Hydrocolloids. 2015;51:441-8.
  33. Weiss J, Gaysinsky S, Davidson M, McClements J. Nanostructured encapsulation systems: food antimicrobials.  Global issues in food science and technology: Elsevier; 2009. p. 425-79.
  34. Salvia-Trujillo L, Soliva-Fortuny R, Rojas-Graü MA, McClements DJ, Martin-Belloso O. Edible nanoemulsions as carriers of active ingredients: A review. Annual Review of Food Science and Technology. 2017;8:439-66.
  35. McClements DJ, Rao J. Food-grade nanoemulsions: formulation, fabrication, properties, performance, biological fate, and potential toxicity. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. 2011;51(4):285-330.
  36. Acevedo-Fani A, Soliva-Fortuny R, Martín-Belloso O. Nanoemulsions as edible coatings. Current Opinion in Food Science. 2017;15:43-9.
  37. Kentish S, Wooster T, Ashokkumar M, Balachandran S, Mawson R, Simons L. The use of ultrasonics for nanoemulsion preparation. Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies. 2008;9(2):170-5.
  38. Ostertag F, Weiss J, McClements DJ. Low-energy formation of edible nanoemulsions: factors influencing droplet size produced by emulsion phase inversion. Journal of Colloid and Interface Science. 2012;388(1):95-102.
  39. Li Y, Zhang Z, Yuan Q, Liang H, Vriesekoop F. Process optimization and stability of d-limonene nanoemulsions prepared by catastrophic phase inversion method. Journal of Food Engineering. 2013;119(3):419-24.