Ultrasound process may assist foam production, suggests study

By Nathan Gray

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food products Colloid

The use of an ultrasound process during the mixing step of foam production in foods may lead to better quality products, according to new research.

The study, published in Food Science​, compared the sensory and physicochemical properties of three ‘foam-type products’ prepared either conventionally or with ultrasonic (ultrasound) methods.

“This work was the first attempt to use an ultrasound device to assist food preparation … with a potential industrial application,”​ said the authors, led by Dr Anne-Sylvie Fabiano-Tixier from the University of Avignon, France.

They said that the results show that “ultrasound used to assist foam-type food preparations … result in more homogeneous products that were not only well accepted by the panellists but even preferred to conventionally prepared ones as some organoleptic characteristics were improved​.”


The authors explained that food manufacturers “need to use faster and more productive technologies in order to satisfy consumer requirements for a safe final product that retains all nutritional aspects​.

The applications of high-intensity ultrasound in the food industry include cleaning of equipment, homogenization, sterilization, heat and mass transfer, emulsification, dispersion, aerosol formation, extraction (for example, proteins), crystallization, degassing, filtration, drying, meat tenderization, cell disruption, and living cell stimulation.

Dr Fabiano-Tixier and colleagues said that in particular, ultrasound provides energy well adapted to the formulation of dispersed systems such as emulsions, suspensions, aerosols, and foams.

They explained that the interactions caused by power ultrasound in dispersed or colloidal systems “have been a subject of historical interest for physical chemists: emulsification and aerosol formation appear among the first applications of power ultrasound.”

Since many food products exist as dispersions, especially as emulsions or foams, they noted that there are “numerous possibilities for applying this technology to the agro-food industry in order to meet demands for increasing production efficiency​.

“Although ultrasound is currently used in a number of different sectors of the agro-food industry, a search in the literature did not yield any reference to earlier reports of ultrasound use to assist the preparation of foam-type foods,”​ said Fabiano-Tixier and co-workers.

The new study evaluated the texture, water activity, colour, and sensory properties of three foam based food preparations: chocolate Genoise​, sponge cake, and chocolate mousse.

Study details

The three food products were prepared using either conventional or ultrasound assisted techniques.

The authors noted that all preparations were carried out under the same conditions, adding that the ultrasounds sonication (during the mixing step of the process) was the only difference between the two processes.

Ultrasound-assisted preparations were found to be superior to the conventional technique according to the sensory analysis, with the majority of panellists preferring the ultrasound-assisted samples.

Fabiano-Tixier and co-workers reported that the physicochemical data, which found the ultrasound preparations to be lighter, more springy, and better aerated, confirmed this finding.

They concluded that the approach of applying ultrasound techniques and equipment (with potential industrial applications) to assist food preparation, could be of great interest to manufacturers for the development of future food products.

Source: Food Science
Volume 76, Issue 2, ​pages C287–C292, doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2010.02019.x
“First Investigation on Ultrasound-Assisted Preparation of Food Products: Sensory and Physicochemical Characteristics”
Authors: D. Pingret, A.S. Fabiano-Tixier, E. Petitcolas, J.P. Canselier, F. Chemat

Related topics R&D