Applications of X-Ray Microscopy for Dairy Products

Size-labeled micro-CT images of aerated dessert sample before and after freezing, showing a 3D volume rendering (box size = 29mm x 28mm x14mm, pixel size = 16 μm). VAN Dalen, Gerard, Unilever, Conference: Micro-CT User Meeting at Ostend, Belgium, 2014.

X-ray microscopy (micro-CT) is used for the 3D visualization and quantitative analysis of dairy and other food products, allowing for in-situ observation and analysis of food microstructure. Most solid foods, including dairy foods, are microstructured, and many properties of foods that are relevant to process engineering or quality are related to their microstructure. Microstructure affects food quality attributes such as texture and also affects food stability and shelf life. Micro-CT scanning provides non-destructive insight into the microstructure of dairy products and how it changes during processing operations.

Size-labeled micro-CT images of aerated dessert sample before and after freezing, showing a 3D volume rendering (box size = 29mm x 28mm x14mm, pixel size = 16 μm). VAN Dalen, Gerard, Unilever, Conference: Micro-CT User Meeting at Ostend, Belgium, 2014.

Freeze-fixation of bubbles for micro-CT imaging of liquid aerated food emulsions

This paper demonstrates the quantitative analysis of air bubbles in liquid aerated food emulsions using micro-CT after freezing of the samples. The frozen matrix facilitates the acquisition of high resolution datasets by reducing mobility of the specimen, but freezing does affect the microstructure of the sample (size, shape, and location of bubbles). The relative volume fraction of air is about 12% lower after freezing, perhaps as an effect of shrinkage of air or compression by the expansion of water freezing. The bubble size distribution is comparable before and after freezing with slightly smaller bubbles after freezing.

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X-Ray Microcomputed Tomography in Additive Manufacturing: A Review of the Current Technology and Applications

Sorbet is a frozen, multiphasic system with ice crystals and air bubbles as a dispersed phase and an unfrozen  cryoconcentrated solution as a continuous phase. Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), cryo-SEM, Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM), and optical microscopy were often used to study the size and distribution of ice crystals and air bubbles in ice creams or sorbets, but they have several drawbacks. This study demonstrates that X-ray microtomography, equipped with a thermostated box, is an excellent technique for the analysis of the microstructure of frozen desserts.

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Characteristics of Instrumental Methods to Describe and Assess the Recrystallization Process in Ice Cream Systems

The course of crystallization is the key factor that determines frozen food quality. “Size, location, and morphology of the ice crystals determine the quality of frozen food, especially ice cream desserts.” This study examines various methods of instrumental analysis of ice cream and finds that Micro-CT offers new possibilities in the analysis of the recrystallization process as a non-destructive method showing ice cream samples in 3D.

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Fat microstructure of yogurt as assessed by X-ray microtomography

This study demonstrates that micro-CT is a suitable technique for the microstructural analysis of fat as it not only quantifies the fat deposits present, but also determines the deposits’ spatial distribution. This research explores the use of micro-CT for the analysis of fat microstructure and quantification of fat in seven types of yogurts. “Developing a proper understanding of the microstructure, particularly the spatial distribution and interaction of food components, is a key tool in developing food emulsions with desired textural and organoleptic properties.”

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Related Articles:

X-Ray Microscopic Examination of Whipped Food Products

Micro-CT Applications for Food Safety

 

 

 

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