❝ When I’m waiting for my dinner to finish cooking, I can’t say I often think about how the way I fry it is changing the food’s microstructure. But after sifting through a paper recently published in the Journal of Food Science that explores the microstructure of “fried potato disks”, I might just.
The study was conducted by Tanjila Alam and Pawan S. Takhar from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. In it, they cut russet potatoes into tiny 45-millimeter diameter, 1.65-millimeter thick disks and then deep fried them in soybean oil. So, think of them as little crispy potato chips for science. The potato samples were fried in 190 degrees Celsius oil for 0, 20, 40, 60, or 80 seconds.
❝ After that, the fried potatoes were subjected to X-ray micro-computed tomography, which creates a micro 3D image of the sample without destroying it. The idea here, is to see how frying the potato affects its porosity, the twistiness (“tortuosity”) of the paths connecting the pores, and how much oil the chip takes in, which eventually could help us make better fried foods…
In this study, the researchers found that the longer the potato was fried, the more the pore size and number of pores increased, which helped the potatoes to take on more oil. The chips that were fried for longer also had less twisty pathways between pores, which corresponds to having better oil uptake.
Scientists aren’t just interested in fried potatoes, the paper notes. In 2011, researchers put chicken nuggets to a similar test, dying the oil blue and using a confocal microscope to trace oil and pore distribution through the deep fried delicacy. Yum!
Too bad the study only addresses one of America’s favorite food groups – fat. They left out sugar, salt and crap beer.
One thought on “X-Ray research on fried potatoes to make them tastier”
The U.S. spends more on potato chips than energy research https://www.politifact.com/west-virginia/statements/2018/dec/06/david-mckinley/does-us-spend-more-potato-chips-energy-research/ a study by the market research publisher Packaged Facts reports U.S. potato chip sales in 2015 at $7.5 billion. As for research funding, the amount allocated to the U.S. Energy Department’s Office of Science in fiscal year 2018 was $5.4 billion. And not all that amount was for energy research specifically; some went for nuclear physics and computing technology.