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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Wyndmoor, Pennsylvania » Eastern Regional Research Center » Dairy and Functional Foods Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #262089

Title: Instrumental textural perception of food and comparative biomaterials

item Onwulata, Charles
item PIMENTEL, MARIANA - Sao Paulo State University (UNESP)
item Thomas-Gahring, Audrey
item Phillips, John
item Tunick, Michael
item Mukhopadhyay, Sudarsan
item Sheen, Shiowshuh - Allen
item Cooke, Peter
item Liu, Cheng Kung
item Latona, Nicholas - Nick

Submitted to: International Journal of Food Properties
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/3/2011
Publication Date: 5/1/2013
Citation: Onwulata, C.I., Pimentel, M., Thomas-Gahring, A.E., Phillips, J.G., Tunick, M.H., Mukhopadhyay, S., Sheen, S., Cooke, P.H., Liu, C., Latona, N.P. 2013. Instrumental textural perception of food and comparative biomaterials. International Journal of Food Properties. 16(4):928-948.

Interpretive Summary: The way people think about hard or soft foods may affect if they buy them. If a product looks too dry and hard, someone with sensitive gums or teeth may not buy or eat them, even if the foods are better formulated and healthier. For example, people with sensitive teeth may not buy dry-looking fiber-loaded crunchy cookies because they may expect the cookies to be painful to chew. In this experiment, we determined how the amount of water in foods such as carrots and puffed corn snacks affected their hardness and crispness, and compared them to those of non-food materials like puffed packing peanut and wood chip cork. We determined that the loss of moisture made carrots to shrink and harder to bite, and their surface to become rougher; gain of moisture made puffed cork snacks softer. By comparing our results with non-food materials, we are able to predict acceptable range of moisture content for future nutritious snacks that have acceptable texture.

Technical Abstract: Texture is an important food quality attribute affecting consumer acceptance. Consumers characterize texture as either crispy or crunchy, and the moisture content and internal structure of the products are significant factors in its perception. Exposing an extruded corn snack (ECS), an extruded biodegradable packing material (EBP), carrots, and wood chip cork to relative humidity conditions ranging from 29.5% to 97.5%, changed their moisture content and affected the internal structures. The ECS and EBP specimens evaluated after 24 h, absorbed moisture and lost crispness. Carrot and cork specimens were evaluated after 48 h; carrots lost moisture, and decreased hardness from 55.02 +/- 7.59 to 23.6 +/- 8.6 N, while cork was unchanged. For all products, loss of moisture increased surface roughness; increasing moisture amplified turgidity and strength in EBP, loss of crispness in ECS, loss of stiffness in carrots, and produced no changes in wood chip cork.