Food Structure


I. Heertje


A proper understanding of the behavior of food products requires knowledge of its structure, i.e., the spatial arrangement of the various structural elements and their interactions. The structure can properly be studied by visual observation techniques. In products such as fat spreads, creams, dressings, cheese, bread , milk , yoghurt , whipped cream, and ice cream , different structural elements can be distinguished. A number of those elements a re discussed, viz. , water droplets, oil droplets, gas cell s, particles, fat crystals and strand s. In addition examples of interactions between structural element s are presented, viz., oil droplets/matrix, protein/ protein, protein carbohydrate, and fat crystal/ fat crystal interactions. Finally, it is indicated how these elements cooperate in the formation of structure and contribute to function and macroscopic behavior of food products. Particular attention is given to fat spreads, processed cheese, protein gelation, and examples of the mutual interaction of milk proteins and of carbohydrates with milk proteins. It is expected that a proper understanding of the relation between structure and function will help us to design new ways of structuring in our continuing efforts to manufacture high quality, healthy and tasty food products.

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