Over the past few decades, the deleterious effects of trans and saturated fatty acids on human health have been well established. However, it is also well known that trans and saturated fatty acids, which are part of the natural fat components, play a major role in the texture and mouth sensation experienced while consuming fat products due to their unique solid-like properties. Thus, direct replacement of trans and saturated fatty acids with unsaturated fatty acids, rising a considerable technical challenge due to their low melting temperature. The research in our laboratory combines material science and food engineering concepts toward the development of new lipid systems that can mimic natural fat, with improved nutritional profile.
Our goal is studying the structure and properties of fats, and developing fat mimetic systems with an aspiration to understand the structure-function relation of these systems. Oil comprises high levels of unsaturated fatty acids which provide better nutritional profile but is liquid at room temperature. Thus, various oil structuring strategies will be used comprising self-assembly and crystallization processes in order to mimic fat structure. Our research aims to find the correlation between the nanoscale molecular structure, by using imaging and scattering techniques, to the meso-scale characteristics, by using rheological, mechanical, and thermal techniques. Such knowledge can potentially open a path for development of innovative healthier food products.
Physical and chemical characterization of lipids and soft matter systems for food and biotechnology applications.