Scientists aim at improving the quality, stability and durability of food. Therefore, they need to analyze the micro- and macrostructures of substances, e.g., chocolate, ice cream or dairy products, or the migration of lipids or water during food processing or storage. The conjunction of sense-perceivable properties of food products such as texture and taste with their objective properties that can be visualized yields new information and deeper insights into their structures.
Exploring the characteristics of food under natural conditions
CARS (Coherent anti-Stokes Raman Scattering) is a new imaging technique that visualizes the characteristic intrinsic vibrational contrast of molecules. The Leica TCS SP8 CARS uses this innovative optical method to analyze samples without any disruption of elemental characteristics. Specimens require neither labeling nor staining for an efficient analysis. This is a crucial advantage over conventional techniques that usually require altering characteristics of lipids and do not reflect the natural properties of these molecules under natural conditions. CARS successfully overcomes this drawback.
High resolution imaging for quick and reliable results
The combination of CARS technology and the new Leica TCS SP8 (A) confocal platform constitutes a fully integrated imaging system. The Leica TCS SP8 CARS offers turn-key operation to gain quick and reliable results and highly resolved imaging at submicron resolution. The acquired images yield structural information on internal properties such as lipid composition or water distribution in food samples. In consequence, the topology of lipids, their properties and distribution in a specimen can be visualized, e.g. DHA in water (B).
Monitoring over time with time lapse imaging
In a time lapse experiment, migrations in food samples or solutions containing lipids can be monitored over time, e.g. multiple emulsions of the water-in-oil-in-water type (W/O/W) (C). The goal of this application is the investigation of sizes, phase transitions and the distributions of the various shapes on the micrometer scale.
Fully integrated imaging system with multiple upgrade options
With the TCS SP8 CARS system, Leica Microsystems offers a fully integrated confocal imaging platform with visible, multi-photon and CARS capabilities and comprehensive upgrade options for the upcoming challenges in food research.