Nestle applies quantum mechanics to optimize food taste, texture, nutrition

November 15, 2007 by Lisa Zyga, Phys.org weblog
Cookie

Researchers from Nestle and the University of California have investigated the physics of food structure, and their results may help scientists create foods with optimal stability, nutrient delivery, flavors and aromas.

Most foods have very complex structures due to their many components. For example, a single food has a combination of proteins, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates that make determining food structure very challenging.

Nevertheless, a food´s structure plays an important role in defining many of the characteristics of food, such as taste and nutrition. For instance, in order to release nutrients into the body, the food structure must take on a certain complex arrangement.

In this study, which is published in Physical Review Letters, the scientists studied how water molecules interact with lipids, which are fat-soluble molecules such as fats and oils. These interactions could serve as a physical basis for understanding and defining the structure of different foods, enabling scientists to assemble the various components in an optimal organized structure.

Until now, no quantitative theoretical framework had been established to understand the structural changes that occur in lipid-water interactions under varying conditions. Now, the researchers have developed a thermodynamic model that describes the phase sequences that take place in solutions of lipids and water. To calculate these phase sequences, the scientists used a quantum mechanical theory called self-consistent field theory.

In the future, the researchers will investigate how to apply this understanding of food structure to optimize foods for different specific purposes and on an industrial scale.

via: NutraIngredients-USA.com

Explore further: Why people become vegans: The history, sex and science of a meatless existence

Related Stories

Scientists explain how wombats drop cubed poop

November 18, 2018

Wombats, the chubby and beloved, short-legged marsupials native to Australia, are central to a biological mystery in the animal kingdom: How do they produce cube-shaped poop? Patricia Yang, a postdoctoral fellow in mechanical ...

Microorganisms help production

November 13, 2018

Oil is still the most economically attractive resource for fuels and basic chemicals that can be used to manufacture everyday products such as plastic bottles and detergent. New biotechnological processes aim to simplify ...

Recommended for you

Making X-ray microscopy 10 times faster

November 19, 2018

Microscopes make the invisible visible. And compared to conventional light microscopes, transmission x-ray microscopes (TXM) can see into samples with much higher resolution, revealing extraordinary details. Researchers across ...

Swarmlike collective behavior in bicycling

November 19, 2018

Whether it's the acrobatics of a flock of starlings or the synchronized swimming of a school of fish, nature is full of examples of large-scale collective behavior. Humans also exhibit this behavior, most notably in pelotons, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.