Egg powder production increases shelf life

Saturday September 25 2021
sg05pix

Powdered eggs will ensure your eggs get a higher shelf life. PHOTO/COURTESY

By Dr Joseph Mugachia

Egg powder is a dried egg product with a similar texture to milk powder. Dried eggs are the complete eggs, the egg white or the yolk, dried to a powder.  

It still retains its nutritious elements such as proteins, minerals, and calcium, and has added advantage of improving food consistency, chewiness, and thickening.

History of egg powder production
During World War II, a wartime shortage of fresh eggs occurred in the United Kingdom. The government responded by producing powdered eggs for rationing. 

A factory for manufacturing egg powder was first set up in the 1930s in Singapore. The eggs were imported from China. During the war, many other suppliers came into the market.

Over time, changing food habits drastically increased eggs and egg products consumption in India. This expanded the domestic market for both. Population increase in the region brought a huge demand for egg powder.

Why make egg powder?
Powdered egg is smaller in volume than the whole egg. For this reason, you can transport more eggs at a time. Also, it is resistant to any climatic changes and breaking. You can ensure microbial safety when you consume dried eggs. Fresh or liquid egg is easily perishable.

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Powdered eggs have a storage life of 5-10 years depending on the storage conditions. If you want to extend the shelf life, place the powdered product in airtight containers under anaerobic conditions. Egg powder is quite stable and you can store and transport in low temperatures. This makes it a feasible and profitable product for the export market. 

Egg is a very nutritious product. It is rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Powdered eggs will help you preserve the surplus eggs to avoid spoilage. 

Egg powder extracts such as Immunoglobulin Y from egg yolk ad lysozyme from egg whites are used in the pharmaceutical filed in inhibiting bacterial activities thus enhancing the immune system.

Uses of egg powder
Your powdered eggs can be used without rehydration when baking, or you can rehydrate the powder to make dishes such as scrambled eggs and omelettes. 

Fresh egg yolk and dried egg yolk powder contain a combination of phospholipid-protein interactions. You can extract phospholipids from the yolk with the help of solvents. Phospholipase A2, treated egg yolk, forms lysophospholipids. This product supports the heat stability of your mayonnaise and salad dressing. 

Eggs play an important role in the industrial production of many food products. Dried eggs contribute desirable characteristics and physical functions. Their functional properties are thickening, emulsification, foaming and moisturizing. You can also use egg powder in fast-food preparations such as cakes, ice creams, cookies, doughnut, etc.

The market for egg powder
In contrast to shelled eggs that are easily broken and perishable, egg powder has a longer shelf life. Egg powder processing in highly industrialised countries is done using sophisticated technologies. When it is produced with fewer regulations, such countries are able to export this product at lower prices compared to domesticated markets.

As global trade expands, food standards are increasingly becoming important. Consumer concerns surrounding food quality and safety will determine the market of your products.

Types of egg powder
The commonly used variety for worldwide customers is chicken egg powder, duck egg powder, and quail egg powder. You can divide these egg powders into three types by its composition

Whole egg powder
You can get powdered whole egg from spray drying. It consists of both egg white and yolk. If you want to functionalise the products, you are required to adjust the drying conditions.

Stabilised powders, free-flowing powders, and standard powders are product categories availed to you. Removing glucose from your whole egg, or bio converting it directly to acid before drying will give you stabilised powders. 

Whole egg powder is suitable for cooking your omelettes, scrambled eggs, pancakes, and custards. You also can directly mix this product with milk, cream, sugar, and alcoholic spirits.

Powdered egg white  
Egg white powders are mostly spray dried and then pasteurized. It contains only egg albumen. Depending on the target use, you can functionalise egg white by dry-heating. Spray-dried egg white shows poor solubility in water. The particles tend to agglomerate and form crumbs when mixed with water. You can easily overcome this problem by developing instant egg white. In order to obtain this, you are advised to coat your spray-dried egg white particles with an aqueous solution of sucrose.

In addition, your egg white can also be dried using a traditional technology called pan-drying. Pan-dried egg white product is specifically used for making aerated confectionaries.

If you may be interested to cook some modernist cuisine, re-hydrating and whipping the product is what you should do. Without re-hydration, you can directly use it in baking meringue or royal icing for making cakes.

Powdered egg yolk
Egg yolk is usually dried by spray drying. You can store at room temperature. High temperatures above 54°C causes thermal denaturation of proteins in your egg yolk. 

Using spray-dried egg yolk in commercial food processing is limited. This is because it shows enormous impairment in important functional properties. 

As a substitute for fresh egg yolk, you can use the powder to obtain colour, emulsion capacity and texture. Moreover, you may use it in your mayonnaise, dressings, croissants and sauces.

Usage
 Your powdered eggs can be used without rehydration when baking, or you can rehydrate the powder to make dishes such as scrambled eggs and omelettes. 

Fresh egg yolk and dried egg yolk powder contain a combination of phospholipid-protein interactions. You can extract phospholipids from the yolk with the help of solvents. Phospholipase A2, treated egg yolk, forms lysophospholipids. 

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