Biomaterials: Processing, Properties and Perception
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Biomaterials: Processing, Properties and Perception

Novel ways of structuring water in FMCG products: Work at the University of Nottingham looks to bridge the understanding of ingredients and the processes employed to create them or use them in food products linked to how such products are then perceived by consumers. One example is the manipulation of the food thickener xanthan gum, which has new dispersion and hierarchical structuring properties which are providing new insights into how this polymer interacts in the mouth and stomach environments to influence the taste delivery and feelings of fullness in the challenge arena of e.g sodium / sugar reduction and the impact of food on the obesity agenda.


Micrograph showing the result of phase separation between xanthan gum and a low molecular weight polyelectrolyte. The light phase is a phase concentrated xanthan phase in which the xanthan is in the liquid crystalline state.

Key aims and expertise

We are well equipped in a number of Centres (Starch and Lipid Processing Centre; EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Food; National Centre for Macromolecular Hydrodynamics, Food and Biofuel Innovation Centre and the Sensory Science Centre) using novel / bespoke processing routes to create and validate new ingredient functionalities for texture and flavour delivery, which can then be tested in trained consumer panels, linked to understanding functional Magnetic Resonance Brain imaging to underpin the real drivers for product acceptance.

Current projects

EPSRC Centre for Innovative Manufacturing in Food (£5.62m)

Lipid and Starch Processing Centre (2012-2015 valued at £1.47M)

TSB - Transforming wet perishable food waste streams for high value human consumption (£1.2M)

Significant results

Processing effects (mechano-thermal and/or solvent) on the control of the extent of structuring (kinetic trapping) of hydrocolloids such as xanthan, cellulose and starch allow novel and natural / sustainable ways to structure products, enabling new processing routes in a manufacturing setting.


Biomaterials: Processing, Properties, Perception

The University of Nottingham
A20 Food Sciences, Sutton Bonington Campus
Loughborough, LE12 5RD

telephone: +44 (0) 115 951 6246