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Neutrons for Science and Industry

What neutrons tell us about food

by Dr Wim G. Bouwman (Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands)

PH HS 3 (Physics Department)


Physics Department

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Sustainable food production is one of the priorities to prevent further climate change. This requires new processing techniques that with sustainable ingredients yield high quality food. When processing raw materials to final consumer food products, their structures change at length scales from nano-, via meso- to macroscopic sizes. To rationally design food processing routes, insight in these hierarchical structures under dynamic conditions, is a prerequisite. Systems of practical relevance to the food industry are often hard to investigate non-invasively. This is caused by the fact that most food materials are opaque and soft materials. Neutrons make it possible to see the bulk of food materials. 

In the first part of the presentation examples will be discussed where the spin-echo small-angle neutron scattering (SESANS)technique is used to determine the food structures [1]. In the second part of the presentation studies on the development of meat alternatives using several other neutron techniques will be discussed [2-4]. 


[1] Spin-echo small-angle neutron scattering for multiscale structure analysis of food materials, W.G. BouwmanFood Structure 30 100235 (2021), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foostr.2021.100235 

[2] Small angle neutron scattering quantifies the hierarchical structure in fibrous calcium caseinate, B.Tian, Z. Wang, L. de Campo, E.P. Gilbert, R.M. Dalgliesh, E. Velichko, A.J. van der Goot, W.G. BouwmanFood Hydrocolloids 106 105912 (2020), https://doi.org/10.1016//j.foodhyd.2020.105912 

[3] Fibre formation in calcium caseinate influenced by solvent isotope effect and drying method – A neutron spectroscopy study, B.Tian, V. Garcia Sakai, C.P. Pappas, A.J. van der Goot, W.G. BouwmanChemical Engineering Science 207 1270-1277 (2019), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ces.2019.07.023 

[4] Air bubbles in fibrous caseinate gels investigated by neutron refraction, X-ray tomography and refractive microscope, B.Tian, Z. Wang, A.J. van der Goot, W.G. BouwmanFood Hydrocolloids 83 287-295 (2018), https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodhyd.2018.05.006 

Organized by

Dr. Jitae Park
Dr. Theresia Heiden-Hecht

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