Caractérisation biomécanique in situ du système langue-aliment-palais par ultrasons quantitatifs pour une meilleure compréhension des perceptions de texture

Abstract : Agriculture and agri-food industry practices evolve in a deep way to supply a new food offer allowing to address population growth issues, and to meet health and sustainability criteria. However, the success of commercial products emerging from these transformations highly depends on sensory appreciation by the consumer. In particular, texture perceptions have been shown to play a major role in the choices and preferences of consumers.This thesis work fits within the general issue of understanding the mechanisms of texture perception resulting from the mechanical interactions between tongue, food and palate during oral processing. The aim of this thesis lies in the development of a new and original method, based on quantitative ultrasounds, for the non-destructive, non-invasive and real time evaluation of the mechanical properties of the tongue-food-palate system.A bio-mimicking system was developed in the laboratory to reproduce in controlled in vitro conditions, the behavior of tongue-palate system during the compression of a food sample. This system allowed to consider gradually the complexity of the physiological environment, by integrating characteristics related to tongue roughness, lubrication and deformability. A set of model gels of agar and gelatin was developed to obtain a range of food products with contrasting physical and sensory characteristics. Then, a quantitative ultrasound device was designed to measure the ultrasound pulse-echo response of the tongue-food-palate system throughout a uniaxial compression achieved by the bio-mimicking apparatus on the products. Signal processing methods and wave propagation simulation tools were used to develop quantitative indicators related to physical mechanisms occurring in tongue-food system interfaces. Two ultrasonic parameters were then identified: i) the reflectivity of tongue-food interface, which makes it possible to characterize the intimate contact between food and the asperities of tongue surface, and ii) the time of flight of ultrasonic waves through the food sample, which is related to the level of deformation undergone by the sample. Finally, the properties stemming from ultrasonic signals were compared with sensory data estimated on the set of food samples, thanks to a panel of trained judges. “Moist” and “slippery” sensory attributes were for instance shown to correlate with ultrasound reflectivity measurements, which are themselves related to lubrication conditions at tongue-food interface.This thesis work allowed to show the potential of ultrasonic methods to better understand and characterize, in controlled in vitro conditions, physical phenomena which may play an important role in the mechanisms of food texture perception. This work must pave the way for future investigations on the transfer of the technology to in vivo conditions, directly on the consumer.
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Mathieu Mantelet. Caractérisation biomécanique in situ du système langue-aliment-palais par ultrasons quantitatifs pour une meilleure compréhension des perceptions de texture. Ingénierie des aliments. Université Paris-Saclay, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018SACLA036⟩. ⟨tel-02299200⟩

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