Micro-CT Applications to Inspect Food Composition

Micro-CT image of air bubbles in frozen ice cream showing segmented structure after thresholding and watershed segmentation of the sample. “X-ray micro-tomography to quantify frozen ice cream structure,” Alvarez, G., et al, 2015.

X-ray micro-tomography to quantify frozen ice cream structure

Ice cream processing affects the microstructure of fat, protein, air, and ice in the finished frozen product. In this study, X-ray micro-tomography (micro-CT) was used to obtain high resolution 3D images of frozen ice cream samples for use in studying the structure and particle size distribution of air bubbles, fat, and ice. The micro-CT analysis provided a unique insight of the fat destabilization and structure network obtained after production and storage. “Results showed that microstructure analysis is a powerful tool for quantifying frozen ice cream structure in relation to process, storage and formula changes.”

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Analyzing the microstructure of a fresh sorbet with X-ray micro-computed tomography: Sampling, acquisition, and image processing

This study utilized micro-CT to analyze fresh frozen sorbets at the outlet of a batch freezer. The sorbets, which are made from water and sucrose, were imaged and their microstructure was quantified with a resolution of 9 μm. The researchers utilized a thermostated box to keep the samples in a frozen state and constant temperature during imaging (close to −6 °C). Researchers quantified size distributions and volume fractions of ice crystals and air bubbles in the samples. “X-ray microtomography equipped with a thermostated box was found to be a particularly relevant technique for the analysis of the microstructure of frozen desserts.”

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Visualizing 3D Food Microstructure Using Tomographic Methods: Advantages and Disadvantages

This article explores some of the uses of micro-CT technology within the food industry, and how advancements from other disciplines can be used in food science. The study demonstrates that “micro-CT in its current form is perfectly adequate for determining microstructure in a wide variety of food products.” It also explores its limitations in low-contrast and low-stability samples in order to set realistic expectations for users.

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A new method developed to characterize the 3D microstructure of frozen apple using X-ray micro-CT

Micro-CT’s non-destructive imaging technology has become indispensable in the food industry to better understand the  microstructural changes that occur in fruit tissue during freezing. “A new imaging methodology was developed and validated to allow segmentation of the ice crystals in frozen apple tissue using the X-ray attenuation coefficients of the reference model samples, i.e. frozen pure water and concentrated apple juice.”

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Related Articles:

Micro-CT Examination of a sandwich Cookie

Micro-CT Applications for Food Safety

Micro-CT Applications for the Food Industry

Micro-CT Inspection of Yeast-Leavened Pizza Dough

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