Molecular Gastronomy

Team Coordinator : Hervé THIS Research aims
Find the mechanisms of phenomena occurring during culinary transformations
Molecular Gastronomy 1. Chemical transformations

Printed : Oct. 2008

2. Physical transformations

Modelling of “definitions” and exploration of “culinary precisions” Exploring scientifically the “art” component of cooking Exploring scientifically the “social link” component of cooking

1.1. Chemical modifications of plant or animal tissues during thermal processing

2.1 Development of the CDS/NPOS formalism. In particular, investigation of the relationship formula/activity, primarily based on gel studies

1.2. Chemical modifications of animal or plant tissues thermally treated in aqueous solution (but also a chemical investigation of organic chemistry processes in water)

All these studies are accompanied by research on methods for fast analysis of complex systems, including chemometric methods.

2.2. Research of molecular transfers during culinary processes in animal and plant tissues, in isolation or in aqueous solution (including NMR/CPMG studies of gel 1.3. Chemical modification of (hydrosoluble, systems) hydrophobic) pigments during culinary processes

3.1 Matrix effects (bioactivity and changes of bioactivity during thermal processing), studied mainly with two cases : methyl chavicol and pigments (investigation of supramolecular associations)

The Team
Hervé This (IR, Pr, HDR)

Other activities of the Team
The Foundation Food Science & Culture (French Académy of sciences) : in order to coordinate cooking and science programs : Monthly INRA Séminars of Molecular Gastronomy : a free monthly meeting to explore culinary precisions Invitations at . Reports are displayed on the Internet site of the French Chemical Society : Courses on Molecular Gastrony at AgroParisTech: three levels, two days per level, topic changed every year according to current research : Technology activity in relationship with 3 stars chef Pierre Gagnaire : on his site, one innovation based on results of Molecular Gastronomy is given every month ; this invention is illustrated by recipes by Pierre Gagnaire : The Institut des hautes études du goût, de la gastronomie et des arts de la table : high level educational program on gastronomy; Experimental Workshops on Flavour : cultural and scientific sessions for a young audience.
Projects Content
Research on the distribution of methyl chavicol during thermal treatment of animal muscular tissue (Gallus gallus) in a three compartments system Research on the mechanisms responsible for the formation of aqueous solution where plant tissues (dice of bulb of Allium cepa L) are soaked. Investigation of the chemical modifications of chlorophylls and carotenoids during thermal processing of Phaseolus vulgaris L. tissues. Development of the formalism. Research of the relationship between formula and physical/chemical properties of systems described by these formula. Scientific and Cultural Sessions around cooking for colleges Scientific and Cultural Sessions around cooking for primary schools of Europe (introduced in favellas of Brasil) WUR, The Netherlands INRA, The Netherlands

Marie-Claude Feore (Education Nationale) Audrey Tardieu (PhD) Aurore Poulteau (PhD) Blanca Escudero Lopez (Sevilla University) Verane Chardonnet (ESTBA)

Plus others students from France and abroad for "stages"

Met@risk, AlimH, INRA INRA


Audrey Tardieu, Walter de Man, Hervé This, 1D and 2D 1H-NMR analysis of taste compounds extracted from raw or fried Allium cepa L. tissues. Methodological questions, in Proceedings of NMR in Food 2008 Congress, Iceland. Hervé This, Descriptions formelles, pour penser et pour la formulation, L’Actualité chimique, (2008), 322(8), 11-14. Hervé This, A. Cazor, D. Trinh (2008). Color Evolution of Aqueous Solutions Obtained by Thermal Processing of Carrot (Daucus carota L.) Roots: Influence of Light. Journal of Food Science, (2008), 73 (4) , E176–E182 E. Scholten, E. van der Linden, H. This, The Life of an Anise-Flavored Alcoholic Beverage: Does Its Stability Cloud or Confirm Theory ?, Langmuir (2008), 24(5), 1701-1706 Juan Valverde, Hervé This. 1H NMR quantitative determination of photosynthetic pigments from green beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.), Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2008, 56(2), 314-320. Hervé This, Is chemistry killing culinary tradition, Proceedings of the Conference Why Chemistry ?, Krakow, Poland (2007). Hervé This, Formal descriptions for formulation, International Journal of Pharmaceutics (2007), 344(1-2), 4-8 Juan Valverde, Marc Vignolle, Hervé This, Quantitative determination of photosynthetic pigments in green beans using thin-layer chromatography and flatbed scanner as densitometer, Journal of Chemical Education, (2007), 84( 9), 1505-1507. Hervé This, Food Chemistry, a molecular based science, Introduction des Proceedings of EuroFoodChem XIV, Septembre 2007, Paris. Hervé This, Pourquoi la cuisine n’est pas une science?, Sciences des aliments, (2006), 26(3), 201-210. Hervé This, Food for tomorrow ? How the scientific discipline of molecular gastronomy could change the way we eat, EMBO reports (2006), 7, 11, 1062–1066 Hervé This, Cooking in schools, cooking in universities, Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, (2006), 5(3), 48-50. Anne Cazor, Hervé This, Sucrose, Glucose and Fructose Extraction in Aqueous Carrot Root Extracts Prepared at Different Temperatures by Means of Direct NMR Measurements, Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, (2006), 54, 4681-4686 Hervé This, Robert Méric, Anne Cazor, Lavoisier and meat stock, C.R.A.S Chimie (2006), 11-12, 1511-1515. Hervé This, Molecular Gastronomy : a scientific look to cooking, Volume II of Life Sciences in Transition, Special Issue of the Journal of Molecular Biology. Hervé This, Molecular gastronomy, Nature Materials, (2005), 4(1), 5-8. Hervé This, Modelling dishes and exploring culinary ‘precisions’: the two issues of Molecular Gastronomy, British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 93, April 2005, S139-S146. Hervé This, La gastronomie moléculaire, Sciences des aliments, (2003), 23 ( 2), 187-198. Hervé This, Georges Bram, Justus Liebig et les extraits de viande, Sciences des aliments, (2003), 23, 577-587.


Onion soaking and sauces

Mars Group Marie Uniq

Mars Group Marie UNIQ

Chlorophylls and Carotenoids


Rectorat de Paris

Education nationale

Ateliers Science & Cuisine

Science Play

Gels and microstructure

University of Helsinki University of Lausanne WUR, The Netherlands Food microstructuring and MNR/CPMG and IMR study University of Seoul of gels and also of plant tissues.


France/Korea Star

UMR IAQA, INRA/AgroParisTech, 16 rue Claude Bernard, 75005 Paris

Contact :

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