How to measure and analyse the texture of food, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals and adhesives.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

One small step for man, one giant leap for texture analysis

TA space imageLong missions and stays on the International Space Station mean that variety and acceptability of food are important for astronauts. Following many years of freeze-dried powders, bite-sized cubes and semi-liquids in toothpaste tubes, a more diverse and interesting range of meals is now on offer. In order to make sure they will withstand the journey and maintain their freshness and taste, repeatable, quantifiable texture analysis is essential.

In conjunction with NASA, Stable Micro Systems’ instrumentation is now being used to advance space food technology. The Space Food Systems laboratory, located at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, has enlisted Stable Micro Systems’ expertise to ensure that astronauts are provided with food with optimal appearance, colour, odour, flavour, texture and overall palatability. 

In the light of the dramatic temperature changes that take place during a mission and the timescales involved, Stable Micro Systems’ instrumentation provides researchers with valuable, quantifiable feedback on a food’s suitability for space flight.

Jo Smewing, applications manager at Stable Micro Systems, commented: “Our technology can analyse important textural characteristics in an efficient and precise way. New space foods, such as the Space Food Systems Laboratory’s apricot cobbler, appeal to astronauts because of their varied and interspersed textures. Using the TA.XTplus texture analyser, with its numerous attachments to gauge different textural attributes, we can ensure that the dish is perfect, whether it is served down here on earth or up in space.

“We are delighted to be working with such a prestigious partner to provide optimal space food and comfort from home for pioneering astronauts. Our technology is an ideal match for the NASA set-up – offering precision, efficiency and controlled, repeatable analysis. We look forward to helping NASA develop and personalise its menus further – and literally taking texture analysis to infinity and beyond!”

Space Food Systems laboratory
Stable Micro Systems’ partnership with NASA underscores its recognised ability to provide innovative solutions for the complex quality demands in food. Every attachment in the company's extensive portfolio of texture analysis solutions can be custom-made according to individual requirements.

Click here to read the feature written by a NASA employee on how the Texture Analyser is used to assess the texture of space food.

Image: NASA

Watch our video about texture analysis  Replicating Consumer Preferences
 Texture Analysis applications

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