Use physics to understand the mouthfeel of food

The microscopic structure of fat (red) explains the difference in texture between foie gras (left) and putty (right). Credits: Matias A. Via and Mathias P. Clausen

The texture of food can make the difference between handing a plate and loving it with the first bite. To date, most research on the texture of foods has focused on associating the overall composition of foods with their mechanical properties. However, our understanding of how changes in microstructure and shape of food affect the texture of food remains underdeveloped.

Danish and German researchers have conducted a series of experiments related to food ultrastructure and rheology. Soft solid Some liquids will deform texture..of Fluid physicsAccording to AIP Publishing, they used a coherent anti-Stoke Raman scattering (CARS) microscope to rheologically and the molecular composition of fat in foods. mechanical nature Of food.

Food in question: foie gras and pate.

“We used soft matter physics tools and models to connect food structural information across length scales,” says author Thomas Birgis. “We participated in microscopy and rheology to understand the texture of food in terms of gastric nutrition.”

Both are derived from duck liver, and the two dishes are quite similar in overall structure and different. Fat distribution Provided a window on how fat affects texture.

“There are many more interesting aspects that we can target to create new products with the same functionality as these products,” said author Matthias P. Clausen. “Can you create foie gras-like textures without animal cruelty? Can you create creamy textures that melt from different fat sources?”

To answer these questions, the group turned to CARS microscopy. It uses a laser to vibrate the chemical bonds in the food to an adjustable frequency and cause it to emit light. This technology has been used in other fields for decades, but so far food Science.

Foie gras fat was harder, more brittle, and more elastic than putty because it was located in an irregularly shaped, weakly bound fat network embedded in the protein matrix.

The large number of round and smooth fat particles and the lack of interconnected networks contributed to the soft texture of the putty.

Klausen hopes to be more interested in investigating which microscopic features of food can be fine-tuned by their research. This group used advanced microscopy to study other ingredients in foods, such as protein placement, and used the results to Foie gras..

Parisian start-ups are looking to the future of lab-grown foie gras

For more information:
Matias A. Via et al, Microscopic characterization of fatty liver-based emulsions: bridging the microstructure and texture of foie gras and putty, Fluid physics (2021). DOI: 10.1063 / 5.0070998

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Use physics to understand the mouthfeel of food

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