Proteinaceous microgels are hydrogel microparticles with well-defined deformability that arises from the swollen nature of the integral biopolymeric network. These colloidal gel particles are extremely important to address fundamental biophysical research questions on oral tribology or digestion when they are present either in bulk phase or at the oil-water interface, respectively. Using a combination of multiscale experimental techniques and theoretical considerations, this invited talk will present an overview on the bio-functional performances of soft protenaceous microgels. Specifically, one case study will focus on the oral lubrication properties1-3 of the microgels, where these microgels present in the bulk phase act as viscosity modifiers and demonstrate high lubrication performance in elastomeric contact surfaces (with different wetting properties) emulating oral surfaces. Microgels showing aqueous ‘soft ball-bearing’ abilities depending upon their volume fraction will be highlighted2-3. Also, a case study will be presented on how these proteinaceous microgels can be fused when present at the oil-water interface to alter lipid digestion kinetics4 of Pickering emulsion droplets. These recent advances on bio-functional properties of microgels hold promise for designing foods in the future with tailored properties.
References  A. Sarkar, et al., Curr. Opin. Colloid Interface Sci 39, 61-75 (2019).  A. Sarkar, et al., Langmuir 33, 14699-14708 (2017).  E. Andablo-Reyes, A. Sarkar, et al., Soft Matter 15, 9614-9624 (2019).  A. Sarkar, et al., Soft Matter 12, 3558-3569 (2016).
Acknowledgements The European Research Council is acknowledged for its financial support (Funding scheme, ERC Starting Grant 2017, Project number 757993) for this work.