The food industry faces a wide range of challenges from the rising cost of raw materials to pressures relating to sustainability and waste reduction. Consumer trends, quality control, and traceability are also of vital importance, and meeting these challenges is key to long-term business success.
Innovation requires a good understanding of the science behind the product or process and access to the widest possible variety of research and development tools.
Diamond provides specialist analytical techniques for the atomic to microscale characterisation of materials ranging from food ingredients and formulations through to packaging and food processing components.
Below are some examples of how these techniques have been applied.
With global food demands growing, maximising crop yield is of critical importance. Soil structure is one of the most important environmental factors affecting root architectural development and consequently plant yield.
Despite the criticism associated with prolonged use, tillage improves the structure of soils for good early root establishment as it breaks down large clumps of soil into smaller aggregates and individual particles to ensure good seed-soil contact in the seedbed as well as an ideal pore network for root growth. To ensure the best possible plant yield, in addition to having the optimum tillage, other soil management practices need to promote optimal root growth.Read more...
A group of enzymes called β-Glucosidases are used in the food industry to hydrolyse glycosidic bonds in complex sugars. Since many food industrial processes involve harsh conditions like high concentrations of solvents and sugars, low pH, and high temperatures, there is a need for these kinds of enzymes to be adapted to function in extreme environmental conditions.
These enzymes can be employed for the cleavage of isoflavone glucosides from soy flour, to produce soy isoflavones, a valuable food supplement.
The essential trace mineral, selenium, is of fundamental importance to human health. It plays an important role in many biological processes such as guarding against oxidants, the formation of thyroid hormones, DNA synthesis, fertility and reproduction.
At present, insufficient levels of Se in the diet affects up to 14% of the population worldwide, bringing with it the associated risk of developing chronic degenerative diseases.
Plants can transform naturally occurring inorganic Se species (present in soil) into organic Se species – the desired form of selenium in the human diet. Effectively, the Se level in soil usually has a direct influence on the concentration of Se present in food and subsequently in the human body. However, high Se concentration in soil induces stress in the plant and may hamper its normal development.
The control of crystallisation is a perennial problem in many aspects of life – for example: the manufacturing of foodstuffs, polymer products, pharmaceuticals and the operation of transportation fuels. There has always been a wish to be able to change the nucleation and growth of crystallising species simply and efficiently. This would enable the control of wax crystals from diesel fuel, speed up polymer processing, and make pharmaceuticals and dairy products more efficiently.Read more...
The diet in Thailand has traditionally consisted of vegetables, pork, chicken and fish, and many Thais are avid meat lovers. Recently, however, there has been a move towards healthier alternatives to meat, providing a challenge for the food industry to maintain the desired flavour and experience of eating meat, whilst turning to more plant-based sources.Read more...
The quality of ice cream is considered to depend on the size of constituent air cells and ice crystals, the smaller and rounder the better. Product quality and shelf life can be strongly affected by the temperature variations that can commonly occur during storage and distribution, including by the end consumer.Read more...
Deficiencies in iron and zinc are affecting an increasing number of people worldwide due to the low intake and bioavailability of minerals from traditional diets based with little or no meat, fruit and vegetables. The problem is particularly serious in Africa, the eastern Mediterranean and south-east Asia where a variety of chronic health problems are related to low mineral intake.Read more...
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