Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Application of Microrheology in Food Science

Nan Yang, Ruihe Lv, Junji Jia, Katsuyoshi Nishinari, and Yapeng Fang

Microrheology provides a technique to probe the local viscoelastic properties and dynamics of soft materials at the microscopic level by observing the motion of tracer particles embedded within them. It is divided into passive and active microrheology according to the force exerted on the embedded particles. Particles are driven by thermal fluctuations in passive microrheology, and the linear viscoelasticity of samples can be obtained on the basis of the generalized Stokes-Einstein equation. In active microrheology, tracer particles are controlled by external forces, and measurements can be extended to the nonlinear regime. Microrheology techniques have many advantages such as the need for only small sample amounts and a wider measurable frequency range. In particular, microrheology is able to examine the spatial heterogeneity of samples at the microlevel, which is not possible using traditional rheology. Therefore, microrheology has considerable potential for studying the local mechanical properties and dynamics of soft matter, particularly complex fluids, including solutions, dispersions, and other colloidal systems. Food products such as emulsions, foams, or gels are complex fluids with multiple ingredients and phases. Their macroscopic properties, such as stability and texture, are closely related to the structure and mechanical properties at the microlevel. In this article, the basic principles and methods of microrheology are reviewed, and the latest developments and achievements of microrheology in the field of food science are presented.

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