Nestlé and UC Santa Barbara uncover physics in foods
Thursday 3 January 2008Nestlé and UC Santa Barbara Researchers Uncover the Physics of Self-Aggregating Molecules in Foods
Scientists from the Nestlé Research Center (NRC), Lausanne, Switzerland in collaboration with researchers from the Materials Research Laboratory, University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), U.S., have developed a model to explain the behaviour of self-aggregating molecules in food. The full contribution is available in the November edition of Physical Review Letters.
A vital element of the physics of food structure is the interaction of lipids and water. This determines the texture as well the transport of flavours and nutrients in foods. Unravelling the mechanism of interactions between lipid and water molecules will help scientists understand the physical properties of complex functional food structures, to subsequently create foods with optimal stability and delivery of nutrients, active ingredients, flavours and aromas.
Nestlé and UCSB researchers examined the molecular interactions of molecules in lipid-water mixtures. The scientists developed a thermodynamic model to quantitatively predict the self-assembly of lipid-water molecules into ordered structures. Prior to the current study, no quantitative theoretical framework had been established to fully interpret the structural changes that occur in lipid-water interfaces under varying conditions.