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Modes of Disintegration of Solid Foods in Simulated Gastric Environment


A model stomach system was used to investigate disintegration of various foods in simulated gastric environment. Food disintegration modes and typical disintegration profiles are summarized in this paper. Mechanisms contributing to the disintegration kinetics of different foods were investigated as related to acidity, temperature, and enzymatic effect on the texture and changes in microstructure. Food disintegration was dominated by either fragmentation or erosion, depending on the physical forces acting on food and the cohesive force within the food matrix. The internal cohesive forces changed during digestion as a result of water penetration and acidic and enzymatic hydrolysis. When erosion was dominant, the disintegration data (weight retention vs. disintegration time) may be expressed with exponential, sigmoidal, and delayed-sigmoidal profiles. The different profiles are the result of competition among the rates of water absorption, texture softening, and erosion. A linear-exponential equation was used to describe the different disintegration curves with good fit. Acidity and temperature of gastric juice showed a synergistic effect on carrot softening, while pepsin was the key factor in disintegrating high-protein foods. A study of the change of carrot microstructure during digestion indicated that degradation of the pectin and cell wall was responsible for texture softening that contributed to the sigmoidal profile of carrot disintegration.

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