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Our work on biopolymer systems aims to provide an iterative approach to the utilisation of raw materials in food product design. Our expertise employs a 'molecules to materials' approach in determining how biopolymer structures and interactions are able to contribute to the assembly and associated functionality of multi-composite food structures.
We maintain a well-equipped laboratory of tools and techniques for food ingredient and product characterisation, with particular focus on rheology and materials testing, but also extending into surface characterisation and supporting analytical services.
Our expertise extends from the development of fundamental understanding of colloidal phenomena through to the assembly of tailored colloidal structures in food products with specific functionality.
This encompasses research relating to interfacial absorption and surface assembly, emulsion systems, foams and dispersions.
We work to understand how particular food ingredient properties can be most effectively utilised as part of food formulation and processing, in order to produce foods with requisite product characteristics.
This includes developing novel approaches for the manipulation of ingredient or additive functionality to deliver targeted product outcomes, such as cost reduction, quality enhancement, or clean label design.
Our expertise focuses on understanding, characterising and ultimately controlling the dynamic behaviours of food materials during manufacture and consumption as part of designing food structures capable of delivering industry or consumer requirements.
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Creating a low fat ice cream that retained the creaminess and mouth feel of the full fat version was a challenge taken on by Massey researchers Matt Golding and Allan Hardacre.
Working on a hunch that interactions between starches and lipid emulsifiers might provide a new mechanism for foam stabilisation, they saw an opportunity in the low-fat and fat-free ice cream market. These food manufacturers use emulsifying or foaming agents instead of fat (cream) to manipulate the structure of their products to improve its texture.
Massey scientists have recently shown that mamaku gum delays gastric emptying, temporarily reduces food intake and induces a short-term reduction in weight gain.
This viscoelastic gum is extracted from the fronds of the native New Zealand black tree fern (well known as mamaku in te reo Māori). Massey scientists have been investigating the properties of this gum for over ten years. The gum, a polysaccharide has unique flow (rheological) properties at the shear rates in the stomach.
We are involved in a number of significant funded partnerships, including Riddet CoRE, the High Value Nutrition National Science Challenge, Food Industry Enabling Technology and the Fonterra-Primary Growth Partnership.
The food materials team also work closely with industry partners to support the development of added-value food products through iterative structure design.