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Researchers Use Ultrasound To Check The Quality Of Chocolate

First Posted: Jun 07, 2016 06:06 AM EDT

Researchers from KU Leuven in Belgium have discovered a new way to check the quality of a Belgian chocolate, which is considered a world-famous delight. They used the ultrasonic waves to check whether the cocoa butter is crystallizing properly during the hardening process.

The crystallization of the cocoa butter, which is the fat in the chocolate, is significant for the best properties of the chocolate. Imogen Foubert, a professor at the Ku Leuven Department of Microbial and Molecular Systems explained that cocoa butter crystallizes as the liquid chocolate hardens. He further explained that it is, therefore, crucial to monitor the crystallization of the cocoa butter intently during the chocolate production process. This is because they don't want inferior chocolate on their shop shelves, according to Science Daily.

The researchers found out that the new technique involves ending transversal ultrasonic waves through the cocoa butter. Professor Koen Van Den Abeele from the KU Leuven Department of Physics and Astronomy said they can detect the differences in crystallization of cocoa butter with ultrasonic waves. This is similar to the ultrasound echography, which is used to examine the health and growth of fetuses in the womb. The researchers compute the reflection of the ultrasonic waves for data about the structure of the butter.

Professor Abeele said that when the cocoa butter is liquid, the ultrasonic wave is reflected in it entirely. As soon as the butter crystallizes, part of the sound wave enters the cocoa butter, so the amount of reflection they measure changes. With this, they can see the various crystals stick together, which is important for the essential properties of chocolate.

The Belgian chocolate or also referred to as chocolate belge is manufactured in Belgium, a country that is located in Western Europe. It became the major industry in the 19th century and gained the international reputation. It is now one of the commodity's significant producers in Europe together with Swiss.

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