ENGINEERING TECHNOLOGY

The new food gel will become a new direction for industrial development


The formation mechanism of food gels and their typical structure. Photo courtesy of Vegetable Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences

The latest application of food gels in the food industry. Photo courtesy of Vegetable Institute of Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences

Recently, the post-harvest processing research group of the Institute of Vegetables and Flowers of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences systematically summarized the formation mechanism, functional characteristics, application status and future challenges of food gels. The content was published in the international journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition.

Food gel is a soft and elastic polymer gel material between solid and liquid, which plays an extremely important role in promoting the development of modern food industry, and has been widely used in food intelligent packaging, intelligent preservation, freshness detection, nutrition delivery, food coloring adsorption, food safety monitoring, satiety product development and other fields. Food gels have many characteristics such as edibleness, nutrient matchability, renewability, low cost, good biocompatibility and biodegradability, and the development of food-grade materials has promoted the development of new food gels.

In this work, the research progress of food gels at home and abroad was comprehensively reviewed from the aspects of formation mechanism, functional characteristics, application status, existing problems, and challenges faced by food gels.

First of all, the article summarizes the formation mechanism of food gel based on hydrogel, physical, chemical and biological crosslinking is the main crosslinking method of gel formation, and there are often multiple crosslinking methods in a food gel, which provides a rich and diverse idea for the design of new food forms.

Secondly, the article discusses the application status and existing problems of gels in major areas such as food intelligent packaging, intelligent preservation, nutrition delivery, freshness detection, pigment adsorption, and food safety monitoring.

Then, the paper discusses the key scientific issues of future food gel research from the aspects of future new food design, the mechanism between food ingredients and matrix, the interaction between food gels and the human body, and the safety of food gels. The article points out that although gels play an important role in the field of food, the research of food gels is still in its infancy, especially the metabolism and absorption mechanism of food gels in the human body and the interaction with the human body’s multi-organ and intestinal flora will be the difficulties and focus of future research.

Finally, the article proposes that the construction of a new type of food gel that is healthier, more nutritious, safer and more beneficial to human needs is the future development direction. In addition, under the combination of interdisciplinary research and the advantages of different effective strategies, the key problems of food gel (such as the interaction between food ingredients and food gels, the role of food gels and the human body, etc.) are solved, thereby improving the professionalism and nutrition of food gels, which will hopefully stimulate different innovative ideas and provide new research ideas for the future development of food gels.

The first unit and communication unit of the paper is the Institute of Vegetables and Flowers of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, and Professor Deng Jianjun of the Institute is the corresponding author. The research was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China and the Institute-level Coordinated Project of basic scientific research business expenses of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences. (Source: China Science Daily Li Chen)

Related paper information:https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2022.2108369



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