Health and Medicine Question #632

George Z, a 16 year old male from the Internet asks on February 2, 2002,

Many people add mustard to salad dressing (oil and vinegar) in order to render the two usually immiscible liquids miscible. How does the mustard do this? Is it the pectin? If it is, how does the pectin work (could you be very specific please - if not, could you let me know where to find a comprehensive explanation)? Thanks

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The answer

Barry Shell answered on February 2, 2002

The mustard powder (or prepared mustard) is probably acting as an emulsifying agent. I don't think there is any pectin in mustard. Emulsifying agents work by attaching one part of themselves (at the molecular level) to the polar liquid (water) and another part to the non-polar liquid (the oil). In this way, the two liquids which normally do not mix, are able to mix.

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