Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/8/2003
Publication Date: 6/10/2004
Citation: Lu, R., Abbott, J.A. 2004. Force/Deformation Techniques for Measuring Texture. In: Kilcast, D., editor. Texture in Food: Volume 2: Solid Foods. Cambridge, England: Woodhead Publishing Limited. p. 109-145.
Interpretive Summary: A review of the principles of instrumental texture measurements was made to provide some practical applications that have been reported in the literature and give guidance in selecting methods that have been developed. These instrumental measurements are widely understood and can provide a common language among researchers, producers, and customers (retailers or consumers). There are numerous empirical and fundamental measurements that relate to textural attributes. Mechanical methods measure functions of force, deformation, and time. Destructive mechanical methods generally relate more closely to sensory evaluations than do nondestructive measurements; but, by their destructive nature, they cannot be used for sorting products. Therefore, the commodity, the purpose of the measurement, sometimes tradition, and sometimes regulations guide the choice of the textural measurement method.
Technical Abstract: Force/deformation methods are widely used for objective measurement of the textural properties of solid foods. They directly measure either single or multiple (composite) mechanical properties of food that are important to the sensory perception of texture by humans in the hand or mouth and to the resistance to mechanical damage during handling. Since there is a vast range of foods with vastly different textural and mechanical properties, it is not surprising that a large variety of force/deformation methods and techniques are available for different types of foods. These force/deformation methods, based on their measurement principles, may be classified into fundamental, empirical, and/or imitative. Fundamental force/deformation methods are developed based on the engineering theory of materials and measure well-defined mechanical properties of food. On the other hand, empirical methods measure those mechanical properties that are not well defined and/or are poorly understood but have been found to correlate with the sensory evaluation of the food.