Photonics is a technology of generating and harnessing light and other forms of radiant energy whose quantum unit is the photon. Photon is going through a molecular stage. And as we know everything is created by molecule. So, photonics can help us to improve our food quality from the molecular level.
- Improving food on the molecular scale
Making the lightest, most delicious birthday cake used to be a feat executed only by Grandma. Now, scientists are replacing culinary intuition with imaging techniques to improve the quality of food. An EU-funded project called Inside Food aims to understand food's physical qualities through microstructure measurement. The project focuses on understanding the spatial distribution of food components, on detecting foreign material in food, and on texture. Researchers have developed instruments and software for inspecting food microstructure that can be implemented in food processing plants.
The researchers use scanners and optical techniques often used in biomedicine to investigate the food's structure. OCT, time- and space-resolved spectroscopy, nuclear magnetic resonance relaxometry and acoustic emission are just a few of the technologies addressed in the project. The information gained from testing allowed the scientists to build mathematical models that describe how microstructures change under the influence of process situations. Currently, scientists are researching to design and optimize a food product by computer. A later step can be the production of foods by 3-D printing.
Sugar and gluten-free products, raised to prominence as a result of diabetes, celiac disease, and other health issues, were the focus of special attention. Texture largely depends on microstructure. The challenge is to create new sugar and gluten-free foods with the same texture.