From trial-and-error to chocolate physics: Molecular dynamics can replace guesswork, claim researchers

By Oliver Nieburg contact

- Last updated on GMT

Chocolate mouthfeel discovery: Researchers identify molecular biology of lecithin during conching
Chocolate mouthfeel discovery: Researchers identify molecular biology of lecithin during conching
German scientists say they may be able to improve chocolate’s mouthfeel after researching the molecular interactions with lecithin during conching.

Writing in the Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics​, Heiko Briesen and his team at Technische Universitat Munchen, Germany, said chocolate manufacturers were currently reliant on trial-and-error to develop formulations with lecithin,  but claimed molecular dynamics – simulation on a molecular level – could allow chocolatiers to optimize flavor, texture and aroma during conching.

Food science of the future?

“I’m quite confident molecular dynamics will strongly support food science in future,”​ said Briesen.

He said the findings could prove key for chocolate makers making a switch to non-GM lecithin.

The researcher and his team characterized the molecular components of lecithin by examining interactions between phospholipid head groups and a sucrose crystal surface during chocolate conching.

They used simulations to detach six different lecithin molecules from a sucrose crystal, modelling the reversed process of lecithin absorption during chocolate conching.

Briesen said the work shed light on the mechanics of molecular interactions during chocolate conching.

The paper is available for free online and can be accessed from the link below.

Source:
Journal of Physics D: Applied Physics,​ Vol. 48 No. 38
iopscience.iop.org/0022-3727/48/38/384002/article
‘Interactions between phospholipid head groups and a sucrose crystal surface at the cocoa butter interface’
Authors: M Kindlein, M Greiner, E Elts and H Briesen

Related topics: R&D, Chocolate, Ingredients

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