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Equipment: Light Microscopy

Conventional light microscopy remains greatly underused by food scientists. Information on particle size, shape, air content, crystal form, and ingredient distribution is quickly obtained using an appropriate contrast technique and interpretive skills. Modern light microscopes are fitted with optical contrast techniques such as differential interference contrast to show phase separation behavior in otherwise transparent liquids (Fig. 3), whilst dyes can identify specific components such as fats, proteins or polysaccharides.


Figure 3. Protein/polysaccharide mixture showing two distinct phases. Differential contrast image light micrograph.
Phase separation and emulsion instability are major issues for food processors.