Software solution for pH prediction developed
ingredients was launched at last week's FiE show in Paris.
The innovation, developed by IFR scientists and collaborators Hamilton Grant and PBL, can reportedly determine organoleptic properties such as flavour and texture, and could play a major role in microbial safety and shelf life.
The prediction of pH from recipes has, until now, been virtually impossible. Foods contain many different acid ingredients, making evaluation extremely complex and highly unstable.
In addition, the correct ratio of acid and alkaline forming foods is difficult to know since the balance is altered by chewing, food preparation, individual lifestyle and genetics.
However, IFR scientists have designed a new approach known as 'Buffering Theory' to predict the pH of proposed recipes in a virtual environment during their design stage.
The system was developed into new computer software. In food manufacturing this will speed up new product development, for example by allowing an early assessment of the impact on shelf life of changing an ingredient for improved flavour or colour.
Technology transfer company PBL has licensed the software to Hamilton Grant, a specialist in food industry software, which has incorporated the theory into its recipe development system.
'Buffering Theory' also has potential applications in agriculture, the environment, healthcare, biotechnology and basic research. In agriculture, it could help improve silage production, for which a low pH is required to prevent the growth of pathogens before they enter the human food chain.
In bioremediation it could help determine the correct mixes of soils. And in healthcare the ability of foods and drinks to produce dental caries could be assessed.