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Noodles on a microscopic level

Researchers from the University of Manitoba use Canada Light Source technology to see what's going on inside noodles and what factors affect quality


Saskatoon, Sask. – A team of researchers took their questions about noodles and texture right down to the microscopic level.

The team, from the University of Manitoba, used the services at the Canadian Light Source (CLS), which offers the brightest light in Canada and is housed at the University of Saskatchewan.

As CLS explains on its website (See “A first look at how miniscule bubbles affect the texture of noodles” on Feb. 7, 2018), a good noodle is a result of many factors. The structure of the gluten, and how the dough is kneaded and stretched all have an effect on quality.

In addition, say the researchers, “there are miniscule air bubbles that are part of the mix and influence texture.”

The only way to really see these bubbles was to use CLS microtomography, says Martin Scanlon in the article. Scanlon is U of M professor in the Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences and the project’s lead researcher.

The CLS microtomography gave the team detailed 3D pictures. What they found was “noodle dough is much stiffer” compared to bread dough. Noodle dough also has much fewer bubbles.

They could also see that bubbles tend to cluster together and, says the article, “clusters of bubbles are likely to lead to cracks in the dough when it is dried for later sale, which is a problem for product quality.”

To see their results in full, click here.

The article says the researchers plan to look at “how bubbles form and evolve in the dough” and how that affects quality. They also plan to “look at how other properties – such as processing, water content and gluten structure – interact with the fast-evolving bubble structure and the integrity of the final dough.”

 

 


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