Author: Jeroen Knol
3D IMAGING FOR CRISPY FOODS
Freshly baked bread can quickly loose it crispness, one of the most important quality characteristics. This loss of crispness is caused by absorption of water from the wet crumb by the dry crust. 3D imaging technology can help food producers to gain insight on this process and improve product crispness.
For dry foods, such as biscuits, crackers and bread, crispness is one of the most important quality aspects. This crispness greatly depends on food structure and water content. The speed at which the crispness decreases strongly depends on the porous food structure. If you want to improve the quality of your product it is necessary to understand the effect of ingredients and processing on the porous food structure.
Researchers from Wageningen UR Food and Biobased Research have developed a model that predicts water migration and crispness as a function of time. The research team used X-ray computed tomography (XRT) to gain insights on the food structure and the water migration dynamics within the product. The XRT takes x-ray images of the food from different angles. Through so-called tomographic reconstruction of the large amount of 2D projection images, the 3D image of the object is calculated. The 3D image mainly shows the different densities of the object.
With the help of this model based on the XRT analyses water content can be predicted at any position and at any point in time. If water content is too high it will lead to loss of crispness. Understanding the migration of water into bread in the production process has enabled the research team to develop bread with a crust that stays crisp up to eight times longer.
Understanding of structure is often the first step towards product improvement.
Of course not everyone can afford these high-tech tools to analyse and improve their products. Therefore, Wageningen UR has opened a new state-of-the-art XRT facility that is open and accessible to SME food producers. Researchers of Wageningen UR offer an economical suite of supports to help you gain rapid insights on the dynamics of your product structure and how to improve crispness and quality in a short timeframe. Get into contact for more information about the technique or opportunities or visit www.wageningenur.nl.