The Composite Structure of Biological Tissue Used for Food

  • Julian F. V. Vincent

Natural materials are all hierarchical composites composed of a relatively small number of basic materials. Commonly, the composite will be based on fibres that can support tensile loads (a fibre is defined as at least 100 times longer than wide) in a matrix that holds the fibres together and passes force, by shear, between the fibres. The fibres can be arranged parallel (the “preferred” orientation) or helically around a cylinder, or semi-randomly or random like a felt. This fibre-matrix composite is arranged in a series of structures of cascading size and complexity, giving a wide range of properties to the final structure, since at each level in the hierarchy the various components can be structured in different ways and stabilized to different degrees. This is the basic framework that nature has given us. At various stages in the chain of preparation of food both the materials and the structures can be modified to make their texture, flavour and nutritional characteristics more acceptable. This involves selection and breeding of the organisms, and preparation and cooking of what they yield. Wider considerations will require the selection and breeding to have minimal environmental impact (“sustainability”) and the products to be entirely used or recycled.


Stress Intensity Factor Fibrous Composite Potato Crisp Stichopus Japonicus Native Potato Starch 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julian F. V. Vincent
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Mechanical EngineeringCentre for Biomimetic and Natural TechnologiesUK

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