Willy Wonka chewing gum could become reality

Researchers have developed a technology that allows different flavours to be captured inside microscopic capsules, which can be designed to release the flavours at different times.
They claim it could be used to produce a real life version of Willy Wonka’s three course meal gum, which features in Roald Dahl’s famous children’s novel Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The microcapsules were originally developed to provide a way of delivering drugs to specific parts of the digestive system, but now scientists at the Institute of Food Research in Norwich want to use them to recreate Wonka’s eccentric creation.
Some of the capsules could be filled with flavouring for tomato soup that would break open on contact with saliva, while tougher capsules would contain the flavour for roast beef that would break open as the gum is chewed. A final flavour for blueberry pie could be packaged in capsules that require vigorous chewing to burst.
Professor Dave Hart, a food scientist at the Institute has already developed a boiled sweet that uses different layers to provide changes in flavour, but he hopes the new technology could help produce more dramatic results.
He said: “There are a number of groups here at the Institute who have been working with these capsules to provide a new way of delivering drugs to the colon, which means they have to be able to survive passing through the rest of the digestive system.
“Researchers in America have been looking at using these capsules as a way of delivering flavour in food. So using it in this way would allow us to provide new experiences for people when eating.
“Wonka’s fantasy concoction has been nothing but a dream for millions of kids across the world. But science and technology is changing the future of food, and these nanoparticles may hold the answer to creating a three course gourmet gum.
“Tiny nanostructures within the gum would contain each of the different flavours. These would be broken up and released upon contact with saliva or after a certain amount of chewing – providing a sequential taste explosion as you chew harder.”
Microscopic capsules, which measure less than a few millionths of millimetre in size, containing flavours have been pioneered by Professor Tony Dinsmore, from the department of physics at the University of Massachusetts.
He developed a technique that allows molecules of particular flavours, vitamins or even living cells to be captured inside the capsules before they can be incorporated into the ingredients for food.
The capsules produce an oily shell around the molecules, preventing them from mixing with other ingredients and so allowing the flavours to be kept separate.
Professor Hart, who has been working with the National Science and Engineering Competition to develop new ways of providing different flavours in sweets, hopes this can be adapted to recreate Willy Wonka’s famous chewing gum.
In the novel, Violet Beauregarde comes to a sticky end after stealing some of the gum, which causes her to blow up like a blueberry before she is rolled away by Oompa Loompas.
The National Science and Engineering Competition is aimed at encouraging school pupils to develop their own innovative ideas. The finals are due to be held at The Big Bang Fair in London next Spring.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Ammara said,

    :O :O :O
    i wanna go to the big bang fair?!

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