3-D IMAGING, ANALYSIS AND MODELLING OF POROUS CEREAL PRODUCTS USING X-RAY MICROTOMOGRAPHY

Gerard Van Dalen, Peter Nootenboom, Lucas J Van Vliet, Lennard Voortman, Erik Esveld

Abstract

Efficient design of multi-component food products containing dry and wet components such as biscuits with a moist fruit filling, is of growing interests for food industry. Technology is needed to prevent or reduce water migration from the moist filling to the dry porous cereal material. This can be done by using moisture barrier systems. Knowledge of the microstructure and its relation to water mobility is necessary to develop stable products. This paper describes a study that uses X-ray microtomography (μCT) for the characterisation and visualisation of the 3-D structure of crackers with different porosity, coated biscuit shells and soup inclusions. μCT was used for imaging the inner cellular structure of the cereal matrix or to analyse the integrity of moisture barriers applied on the cereal product. 3-D image analysis methods were developed to obtain quantitative information about the cellular matrix which can be used as input for simulation models for moisture migration. The developed 3-D image analysis method maps the open cellular structure onto a network (graph) representation in which the nodes correspond to the pores and the vertices to the pore-topore interconnection. The pores (nodes) have properties such as volume, surface area and location whereas the vertices have properties such as direct (open connection) and indirect (separated by a single lamella) area. To check the segmentation and network description a model for pore to pore resistance was used. The obtained results demonstrate the potential of μCT and 3-D image analysis for extracting structural information which can be used in models for the moisture penetration in a cellular bakery product.

Keywords
cellular food products; hydration; microstructure; X-ray microtomography (μCT); XRT; XMT

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DOI: 10.5566/ias.v26.p169-177

Image Analysis & Stereology
EISSN 1854-5165 (Electronic version)
ISSN 1580-3139 (Printed version)