Beyond water activity: Recent advances based on an alternative approach to the assessment of food quality and safety

This review describes a new perspective on moisture management, an old and established discipline evolving to a theoretical basis of fundamental structure‐property principles from the field of synthetic polymer science, including the innovative concepts of “water dynamics” and “glass dynamics

Louise Slade

2009

Scholarcy highlights

  • Beyond water activity: Recent advances based on an alternative approach to the assessment of food quality and safety
  • This review describes a new perspective on moisture management, an old and established discipline evolving to a theoretical basis of fundamental structure‐property principles from the field of synthetic polymer science, including the innovative concepts of “water dynamics” and “glass dynamics
  • These integrated concepts focus on the non‐equilibrium nature of all “real world” food products and processes, and stress the importance to successful moisture management of the maintenance of food systems in kinetically metastable, dynamically constrained glassy states rather than equilibrium thermodynamic phases
  • The understanding derived from this “food polymer science” approach to water relationships in foods has led to new insights arid advances beyond the limited applicability of traditional concepts involving water activity
  • This article is neither a conventional nor comprehensive review of water activity, but rather a critical overview that presents and discusses current, usable information on moisture management theory, research, and practice applicable to food systems covering the broadest ranges of moisture content and processing/storage temperature conditions

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