Advanced characterization of food and ingredients

Veronica  Lattanzi

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Advanced characterization of food and ingredients

We are what we eat. Therefore, it is beneficial to know our food in as much detail as possible - and DTI can help.

Some properties are difficult to measure with conventional techniques, and that is where we can help you provide a solution by advanced characterisation using synchrotron X-rays or neutrons.

Detailed structural information from nano- to macrometer scale

Using advanced characterisation techniques, we can look in great detail into the structure of different food products or food ingredients. By combining different techniques, we can probe the structure and composition across different length scales from nanometer- to macroscale.

The structure and texture of food products and ingredients is of great importance to the mouth feel and in some cases taste of food products while it can also have an impact on macroscopic properties, such as viscosity, that can be important for the production process. Using a combination of advanced characterisation techniques, we can investigate the structure of food products or ingredients in great detail and correlated them to macroscopic properties to give the consumer the optimal experience.

Relevant structural details that we can extract include:

  • The texture of e.g. plant- or insect-based protein products can be determined using high resolution imaging
  • Crystallinity and phase distributions of e.g. chocolate or ice-cream can be mapped using scattering techniques
  • The nano-structure of individual elements of e.g. milk or enzymes can be measured using scattering techniques coupled also with in situ rheology

All of these techniques can be done in a so-called scanning mode or in High Throughput Screening (HTS), mapping the structural properties of your food product, ingredient or raw material, also for quality control and traceability documentation.

Monitoring of structural changes over time

As measurements can be conducted very fast at these large-scale facilities, changes in the structural properties can be monitored over time. This enables us to see how the structure changes in different environments, with high time resolution, to gain insights into what happens during processing steps or during degradation, such as:

  • Structural changes during individual processing steps e.g.
    • heating or cooling to find optimal processes temperatures and times
    • addition of additives to understand how the individual components in the product interact
    • mechanical load e.g. when pressed through a nozzle
  • Stability of individual components to see if they degrade or aggregate under different storage or transportation conditions (e.g. temperature or humidity).
  • Changes in the structure upon interaction with a surface e.g. in the packaging

Contact us

Our experts are always available to support you to assess challenges and solutions, from planning to results. We will fast-track your progress from early feasibility through commercialization while protecting your proprietary knowledge. It's an x-ray and neutron vision well worth exploring – contact us today to bring your products to the market fast!