Introduction: Food Rheology and Structure

  • M. Anandha Rao
Part of the Food Engineering Series book series (FSES)


By definition, rheology is the study of deformation and flow of matter. The science of rheology grew considerably due to research work done on synthetic polymers and their solutions in different solvents that in turn was necessary due to the many uses of the polymers (“plastics”) in day-to-day and industrial applications. Nevertheless, because of the biological nature of foods, food rheology offers many unique opportunities of study and there exists a large body of food rheology literature. Many foods are composed mainly of biopolymers and aqueous solutions containing dissolved sugars and ions. The former are large molecules, often called macromolecules, such as proteins, polysaccharides, and lipids from a wide range of plant and animal sources. In addition, water is an important component in many foods and plays a major role in the creation of edible structures and their storage stability (Rao, 2003). Processed foods may be viewed as edible structures that are created as a result of the responses of proteins, polysaccharides, and lipids in aqueous media to different processing methods, such as thermal processing, homogenization, and other physical treatments. Most, if not all, of those responses are physical in nature. The measured rheological responses are those at the macroscopic level. However, they are directly affected by the changes and properties at the microscopic level (Rao, 2006). Thus, it would be helpful to understand the role of structure of foods on their rheological behavior.


Shear Rate Fractal Dimension Rheological Behavior Apparent Viscosity Intrinsic Viscosity 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Anandha Rao
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Food Science and Technology CornellUniversity GenevaNew York

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