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Equipment: Confocal scanning laser microscopy

Confocal scanning laser microscopy is similar to epi-fluorescence microscopy, where a fluorescent dye is added to label the component of interest. General protein and fat dyes can reveal ingredient distributions in real products (Fig. 4). A key feature of confocal microscopy is three-dimensional imaging of food structures. Additional features have been added to our microscope including a micro-tensile testing stage for solid foods (Fig. 5) and a cryo-optical shearing stage for liquid/semi-solid foods. These attachments will facilitate the real-time study of food structures during shearing and tensile testing.

 

Figure-4
Figure 4. Confocal scanning laser micrograph of bread showing starch (brown) fat (purple dots)
and gluten network (red). Multiple dyes were used to simultaneously image the different components.

 

Figure-5
Figure 5: Confocal image set showing fracture path through a fat filled whey protein gel formed at different pH’s.
The microstructure of the gel affects protein fracture properties and fat (yellow) mobility and release.