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Book Review: Physical Properties of Foods: Novel Measurement Techniques and Applications, Edited by Ignacio Arana

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The Preface of Physical Properties of Foods, edited by Ignacio Arana, states “Foods are characterized by their physical properties. These properties intensely affect the quality of foods and can be used to classify or identify them … It [this book] aims to provide the engineer, the researcher, the food market, and the food industry with critical and readily accessible information on the modern techniques for measuring physical parameters affecting food quality and food characterization.”

There are two parts to this book. The first part shows principles and measurement techniques and the second part deals with the application of measurement to “classify, identify, and differentiate various foods.” Such foods are vegetables, fruits, meats and meat products, cereal products, and dairy. Some example chapters are: Basics of Electronic, Nondestructive Technologies for the Assessment of Physical Characterizes of Food; Rheological, Textural, Optical and Flow Properties of Food; Mechanical Damage of Food; and, Physical Properties of Cereal, Meat and Dairy Products. Each chapter is thorough, giving an introduction, data, conclusions, and references.

Considering that society is showing concerns about not getting high quality food, e.g., pink slime in hamburger, and First Lady Michele Obama advocating healthier eating, it is important for all of us to be cognizant of what is happening to our food supply. It is more so important for research to continue measuring and providing this information to the industry. In Physical Properties of Foods the internationally prominent scientists and engineers have provided the latest methods and “low-cost techniques to characterize physical properties without destroying the food.”

Aside from food engineers and scientists benefiting from the information in this book, nutritionists and clean-food advocates would benefit from the data presented. It would give them a better understanding of diagnostic testing and measurements, as well as quality of food products presented to consumers. As for the lay person, Physical Properties of Foods will give an insight into types of measurements and studies that are made of the foods we ingest and the minimums of food quality control. This, I’m sure, will have you thinking the next time you bite into an apple or drink a glass of milk. Recommended!

(Reviewed by Irene Watson for Reader Views)

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About Cristina Lanzi

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