Investigating the role of fat crystal networks in the oral processing behavior of fat-continuous dispersions

01 January 2021 → 31 December 2024
Research Foundation - Flanders (FWO)
Research disciplines
  • Agricultural and food sciences
    • Food physics
    • Food sensory sciences
    • Food technology
fat crystal networks sensorial properties fat continuous dispersions
Project description

Although fats play a crucial role in functionality, texture and flavor perception of foods, there is scarce information on the link between fat structure, oral processing and sensory perception, especially in fat-continuous systems. The main goal of this research is to obtain fundamental insight in the relationship between fat structure at different length scales (nano-, meso-, micro- and macroscale) and oral processing of fat-continuous food systems. These insights will aid to redesign fat-rich food products while obtaining enhanced functional, sensorial and/or nutritional properties. In this project, first methodologies will be developed to study the mouthfeel and aroma release of model fat-rich dispersions (suspension and w/o emulsion). To study mouthfeel we involve tribology, oral coating thickness measurements and a sensory panel. For aroma analysis, an in-vivo method will be developed for measuring aroma compounds in the human mouth and nose. Next, the nano- and mesostructure of two model fat-continuous systems will be engineered and the impact on mouthfeel will be investigated. This research uses a very advanced ultra-small angle X-ray diffraction technique (USAXS) that allows studying the meso-scale which has scarcely been used in complex food systems. Finally, the last part aims at identifying the role of fat structure at nano- and mesoscale on the release of butter aroma in the model dispersions during oral processing.