computer simulation in Food industry

  • The food industry is one of the biggest industries in the world. It’s only logical for it to be that way, since we all need food, and we need it on a daily basis.
  • The term food industries covers a series of industrial activities directed at the processing, conversion, preparation, preservation and packaging of foodstuffs.
  • Multiscale modeling is a new paradigm for analyzing and designing food processes. Its main advantage is that it can be used for calculating material properties of foods – one of the major hurdles that prevent widespread use of modeling in food process design and engineering, but also to establish constitutive equations.
  • It also provides means to understand how food properties at the macroscale are affected through processing by properties and geo metrical features at the microscale and beyond, but also enables to translate macroscale behavior into changes happening at the microscale. Once such relationships are known, they can be used for food structural engineering – designing the food at the micro scale so that it has desirable functional and quality attributes at the macroscale (Aguilera, 2005; Guessasma et al., 2011).
Multiscale aspects of moisture loss during apple storage.

  • In other fields of research such as materials engineering, multiscale modeling is becoming a mainstream methodology for tailoring or customizing the microstructure of materials to obtain specific properties (e.g., Ghosh and Dimiduk, 2010; Kenney and Karan,2007).
  • Perspectives for foods applications are given by Aguilera(2005) and include aerating foams, both solid (e.g., bread) and liquid (e.g., whipped cream); entrapment of water droplets in food products, e.g. for mayonnaises or processed cheese (Heertje et al.,1999); and molecular gastronomy.
  • The main hurdle seems to be our lack of understanding of the physics of foods at the microscale and beyond, and more research is definitely required in this area.
Schematic of the multiscale paradigm. Homogenization (A) involves calculating apparent material properties at the model of some scale i from experiments with the model that operates at the lower scale i-1. In localization (B), special regions of interest (ROI) are identified at some scale of interest i; more detailed simulations are then carried out in this ROI using the model that operates at scale i-1. (Adapted from Ho et al., 2011).

Quang T. Ho, et al. BIOSYST-MeBioS, KU Leuven, 2012.