Nestlé Research Centre - Articles and news items

Nestlé Research Center receives The University of Tokyo Shokumon Award 2013

Industry news  •  8 November 2013  •  Nestlé

The award acknowledges Nestlé’s continuous support to the University’s research and education programmes…

Nestlé scientists help to identify biomarkers for obesity-related health problems

Industry news  •  9 October 2013  •  Nestlé

“People who have visceral obesity are recognised as being at higher risk of developing certain related illnesses…”

Perspectives on modern NMR spectroscopy for personalised nutrition

Issue 3 2012  •  4 July 2012  •  Serge Rezzi, Bioanalytical Science Department, Nestlé Research Centre

Since the pioneer discovery of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy by Isidor Rabi in 1938, it has become a central analytical technology in multiple scientific domains of chemistry, physics and biology. Uniquely suited to measure the spin properties of magnetically active nuclei, NMR has emerged as a very popular technique for both routine and research applications. The food industry for instance uses NMR to study food structure, composition and effects on the metabolism. We briefly review in the following some key features making NMR a successful analytical platform in modern food and nutrition industry. Emphasis is given to recent developments of high resolution NMR (HR-NMR) spectroscopy for food quality and authenticity and nutritional metabonomics.

The popularity of HR-NMR in food and nutrition research relies first with a series of technical advantages such as minimal sample prepara – tion, non-invasiveness, reduced matrix effects, detailed structural information, quantitative capacity within a broad dynamic range and high reproducibility. HR-NMR remains a technique of choice for establishing the structure of molecules as well as for analysing complex food matrices. Indeed, minimal structural modifications introduced by various stereo – chemistry, chiral centre and position of functional groups result in measurable changes of chemical shifts, signal multiplicity and couplings that can be exploited.

Microbial food spoilage: A major concern for food business operators

Issue 3 2012  •  3 July 2012  •  François Bourdichon and Katia Rouzeau, Food Safety Microbiology, Quality and Safety Department, Nestlé Research Centre

‘Something is fishy’ is a widely used expression over a doubtful, suspicious situation, a good example of how mankind has taken advantage of microbial spoilage to assess the wholesomeness of a food product. The reduction of trimethylamine oxide to trimethylamine by bacteria associated primarily with the marine environment (e.g. Alteromonas and Vibrio) and animal intestines (Enterobacteriaceae) constitutes this major spoilage reaction during the storage of marine fish and typically identified ‘fishy’ as off note. The microbial alteration of fish can be therefore organoleptically identified by consumers, considering the food as suspicious for consumption1.

Spoilage of food involves any change which renders food unacceptable for human consumption and may result from a variety of causes, which include: Insect damage; Physical injury due to freezing, drying, burning, pressure, radiation; Activity of indigenous enzymes in plant and animal tissues; Chemical changes not induced by microbial or naturally occurring enzymes (These changes usually involve O2 and light and other than microbial spoilage are the most common cause of spoilage e.g. oxidative rancidity of fats and oils and the discolouration of cured meats); and growth and activity of microorganisms: bacteria, yeasts and moulds.

Ingredients: Modulation of saliva flow, saliva lubricating properties and related lingering perceptions by refreshing water ice consumption

Issue 3 2009  •  10 September 2009  •  D. Labbe & N. Martin, Department of Food Consumer Interaction, Nestlé Research Centre

Refreshing in foods and drinks is a perception strongly related to mouth state after product consumption. Oral dryness and roughness are lingering perceptions negatively related to refreshing perception whereas mouth wetting perception is a positive driver of refreshing perception. Since saliva seems to be related to mouth wetting, we explored if salivary flow and saliva lubricating properties could be potential markers of refreshing perception. To reach our objective, we explored on saliva flow and saliva lubricating properties the impact of a water ice consumption optimised to be perceived more refreshing than a standard water ice. As key results, the optimised water ice induced the highest saliva flow rate and saliva production with the lowest friction coefficient. These results were validated by sensory evaluation, showing that the optimised product delivered after consumption the most intense salivating perception. Our finding seems to validate the positive association between refreshing and oral wetting perceptions.

Strategic considerations in choosing a rapid method

Issue 1 2008, Past issues  •  28 February 2008  •  Dr. John D. Marugg, Nestlé Research Centre, Quality and Safety Department, Microbiological Safety Group, Switzerland

Food manufacturers face challenges in optimising speed and efficiency, reducing product inventory, simultaneously responding to microbiological and chemical contaminants and entering the production process, via ingredients or the environment. Currently, most official or reference methods for pathogen or contaminant detection are laborious, costly, and often take a long time (3-7 days or longer) to obtain results. The application of rapid methods allows for an easy and fast response in the monitoring of raw materials and production environments, reducing the turn-around-time along the supply chain.

When are chocolates really finished?

Issue 4 2006, Past issues  •  6 November 2006  •  Julia Strassburg, Nestle Research Center, Vers-chez-les-Blanc, Gottfried Ziegleder, Fraunhofer Institut Verfahrenstechnik und Verpackung and Steve Beckett, Nestle R&D Centre York

Unfinished crystallisation in freshly produced chocolates is one of the major reasons for fat bloom, especially for filled products. Chocolate shells, if insufficiently crystallised, show reduced resistance to oil-migration of fillings. The influence of two production parameters, cooling tunnel time and storage temperature, on the finished state of chocolates is investigated. It is found that the crystallisation in the chocolates is not finished when the products leave the cooling tunnel.

Many confectioners believe the production process of chocolate and confectionery products to be completed once a good temper has been achieved and a product with a shiny gloss and hard finish has been produced. However, this is not the case; many changes continue to occur during the post cooling tunnel time. Seven to twelve minutes in a controlled, low temperature are sufficient to give the majority of the cocoa butter an opportunity to crystallise, but significant liquid fat still remains. A common misconception is that keeping the chocolate at the lowest temperature possible accelerates the crystallisation of the remaining liquid cocoa butter. On the contrary, warmer temperatures in fact support crystallisation – cold temperatures actually decrease diffusion. Diffusion is the basic principle of transport for liquid cocoa butter throughout the already partially solidified chocolate. If diffusion is not possible, the molecules align themselves rather than move. Therefore, just as much attention must be paid to the confectionery after the tunnel as before (Seguine, 1995).


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