Tribological and Sensory Properties
Eating, functionalized by mouth physiology, is performed through a series of processes which collectively helps in food ingestion, preparing the food for swallowing, ab-initio digestion, and food sensory perceptions. Sensory properties of food are typically defined by its texture, flavor, and color. Unlike flavor and color, characterizing texture perceptions remain a daunting task because of variegated in-mouth breakdown mechanisms of food depending on several influencing factors. Therefore, it always remains a persisting challenge to correlate instrumental outputs with texture perception. Over the recent decade, principles of tribology—the subject of friction, wear, and lubrication––have been recognized in food sensory research in order to adopt novel instrumental approaches for texture perceptions. This idea of incorporating tribological principles stems from the availability of friction that arises while the tongue manipulates food over the palate during oral processing. Eventually, the terminology such as oral tribology has been introduced, and the subject is rapidly gaining maturity for food sensory applications especially to demonstrate some highly specific sensory descriptions and to define a quantifiable metric for those sensory descriptions. This chapter will revisit the various principles and applications of tribology in pertinence to texture characteristics of food in general and edible hydrocolloids in particular while attempting to identify potential research gaps and future research scopes.