To tackle the problem of an ever increasing demand for food, and in particular the demand for high quality protein, a transition towards a sustainable alternative to animal protein is required. The production of meat
and meat products is deemed very unsustainable, but the currently available meat alternatives have been unable to win the favor of the consumer. These meat alternatives lack the sensory appeal that draws the consumer to meat; juiciness in particular has been identified as insufficient. Therefore, an effort is being made to develop a meat analogue that truly mimics meat in terms of both structure and juiciness.
The aim of this study is to better understand the binding and release of water by meat replacers, and how this relates to the structure of meat replacers. Since juiciness relates not only to the binding and release of water, but also of fat and avour compounds, this study will also cover the incorporation of these additional components. Once an understanding of water binding and release (and fat) is generated, a strategy towards improving these properties can be formulated and tested.
The materials used in this study will be prepared using a Shear Cell; a machine that applies heat and simple shear to create a pronounced brous structure. These structures can be made from di erent combinations of biopolymers such as proteins and polysaccharides, and can be generalized as bi-phasic biopolymer gels. Their water binding will be analysed using Flory-Rehner theory, which will provide a better understanding of how water is bound by the material. The swelling of the material, and its e ect on the microstructure will be assessed using various analytical methods such as X-Ray Tomography and Time Domain NMR. Multiphysics simulations and numerical modelling will be used to gain knowledge at a more fundamental level. The acquired knowledge will ultimately be used to contribute to the next generation meat replacers.
4 BSc / MSc Thesis
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