Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Structure of chocolate unravelled by synchrotron radiation

17.09.2004


The white-grayish film is a sign of fat bloom in chocolate bars.


Think about a piece of chocolate. Imagine it melting in your mouth. The sensation is delicious. Now think of the same image, but this time the chocolate is covered by a white film on its surface. This white film is produced when chocolate is poorly crystallised or when it is stored under the wrong conditions. We ’eat’ also with our eyes, so such bad-looking chocolate seems less nice to the palate. Here is where scientists come into the picture. Researchers from The Netherlands working at the ESRF try to avoid this white layer, called fat bloom, by studying the structure of chocolate. Their aim is to optimise the pleasure of eating it. They publish this week in the Journal of Physical Chemistry B the structure of a component of cocoa butter and also the crystal structure of the most common form of cocoa butter in chocolate, a result that is of great importance for chocolate production. The ESRF synchrotron light was essential for this research.

There is a lot of science in the process of making chocolate. Dark and bitter sweet chocolate contain from 31 to 38% of cocoa-butter, 16 to 32% of cocoa powder and 30 to 50% of sugar. Cocoa butter determines the physical properties of the chocolate. It has a high degree of crystallinity and may crystallise in six different crystalline forms in the course of the production process. This process includes tempering, which consists of repeatedly heating the chocolate to a specific temperature and then cooling it down. It aims to bring the cocoa butter in one of the most stable crystal forms. The different crystalline phases are numbered from phase I to the most stable phase VI. The lower-numbered phases are unstable and do not give a good product, but manufacturers nowadays manage to set the chocolate in phase V. Nevertheless, even this chocolate phase can suffer from phase transition during storage, resulting in fat bloom. This explains the importance of crystallising the chocolate properly.

A team of scientists from the University of Amsterdam, with help of the ESRF, has made a major step forward by identifying for the first time the crystal structure of one of the three main triglycerides that make up chocolate butter. The triglyceride, called SOS, is a cis-mono-unsaturated type and represents one quarter of the chocolate butter. This breakthrough helps in better understanding the melting behaviour of cocoa butter and better controlling the production process. According to Dr. René Peschar, first author of the paper, “This work is expected to be highly relevant to confectionery research and industry and the first step to a better understanding of the mechanism of the fat bloom phenomenon at the molecular level.”



The researchers used the synchrotron light to collect data from which they determined this structure using the X-ray powder diffraction technique. They also stored completely molten cocoa butter at room temperature (around 22°C) for several weeks to get the phase V. Then they studied it at the ESRF with the same technique and managed to construct a crystal structure model of this cocoa butter phase V. “It is impossible to get these results with laboratory data; you really need a synchrotron facility because of its superior data quality”, explains Dr. Peschar, from the University of Amsterdam.

The chocolate research based on data measured at the ESRF has also had impact on industry. The Dutch machine manufacturing company ’Machinefabriek P.M. Duyvis’ acquired a patent concerning an improved method of making chocolate that is based on the results of experiments carried out by the Dutch researchers at the ESRF over the last few years. The company built a prototype, tested and fine-tuned it together with the University of Amsterdam and a major European chocolate producer. The company is situated in the middle of the "Zaanstreek", a region hallmarked by a huge diversity of foodstuff manufacturers and processing more than 20% of the world’s cocoa bean crop.

Montserrat Capellas | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esrf.fr

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Faba fix for corn's nitrogen need
11.04.2018 | American Society of Agronomy

nachricht Wheat research discovery yields genetic secrets that could shape future crops
09.04.2018 | John Innes Centre

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum Technology for Advanced Imaging – QUILT

24.04.2018 | Information Technology

AWI researchers measure a record concentration of microplastic in arctic sea ice

24.04.2018 | Earth Sciences

Complete skin regeneration system of fish unraveled

24.04.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>