Microstructural properties of potato chips

Sushil Dhital, Stefan K. Baier, Michael J. Gidley, Jason R. Stokes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The microstructure of foods and their response to both deformation and hydration is anticipated to be a key driver in texture and taste perception during comminution and oral processing. Here we characterise the microstructure of potato chips (crisps) using a broad range of microscopy techniques and labelling methods to capture potato cell structure and fat distribution at different length scales, as well as assess the influence of hydration. Our methods are shown to distinguish commercial samples of traditional fried chips (i.e. formed from sliced potatoes) and those formed via fabrication. Whilst both potato chips are a packed array of potato cells and thus microstructurally similar, upon hydration the potato cells in the fabricated samples separate and disperse in suspension while the tissue structure of the traditional chips remains essentially intact. We find that a significant proportion of the fat in fried chips is associated as thin film with the potato cell walls both at the surface and within the structure, while it is present as droplets at the fabricated chip surface. Upon excess hydration, the oil in both types of PCs coalesce into larger droplets. Frying of isolated cells and tissues damages cell walls and allows movement of oil into the potato cells, which may also occur for fried potato chips. The study highlights that despite the similarity in the microstructure of intact chips, subtle differences arising from processing/formulation lead to large differences in the response of the structure to hydration that needs to be considered in food structure design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-26
Number of pages10
JournalFood Structure
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Crisp products
  • Food structure
  • Formulated chips
  • Potato chips
  • Starch
  • Tissue structure

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