Food Science/Infusion Process

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Question
Hi Carl, this is proving to be a difficult question to answer, but I thought I would send it over to you to see if you have any insights. I have been doing some research into the infusion process, specifically in relation to the steeping process of tea. Although I understand the principles of infusion, I am struggling to understand what, scientifically, is happening at a molecular level. I was wondering if you could please explain the hard science behind infusion to me, as well as how and what causes the botanical compounds and flavourings to transfer from the organic material into the solvent?
I also understand that pressure can be applied to the process to increase the rate of infusion, and was wondering if there are any other known methods or catalysts, which could potentially speed up the infusion process?
Thank you and best regards, Nicholas

Answer
Nicholas,
To me this seems to be diffusion at work.  The principle behind diffusion says that material diffuses from high concentration to low concentration.  When the solvent contacts the organic material and it dissolves then diffusion takes over.  There are a number of factors that would affect the rate of diffusion.  Fineness of the organic material, the temperature, etc.

I hope this if helpful.

Kind Regards,

Carl

Food Science

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Carl Hoseney

Expertise

Properties and structure of cereal grains. Milling of grains and their processing into food or feed. The chemistry of cereal grains and what happens as grains are processed.

Experience

15 years with USDA as a research chemist. 25 years as a professor at Kansas State University and 3 years as President of R&R Research Services, Inc.

Publications
Mainly Cereal Chemistry but many others also




Education/Credentials
PhD in cereal chemistry

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