Since many years food engineers have attempted to describe physical phenomena such as heat and mass transfer that occur in food during unit operations by means of mathematical models. Foods are hierarchically structured and have features that extend from the molecular scale to the food plant scale. In order to reduce computational complexity, food features at the fine scale are usually not modeled explicitly but incorporated through averaging procedures into models that operate at the coarse scale. As a consequence, detailed insight into the processes at the microscale is lost, and the coarse scale model parameters are apparent rather than physical parameters. As it is impractical to measure these parameters for the large number of foods that exist, the use of advanced mathematical models in the food industry is still limited. A new modeling paradigm - multiscale modeling - has appeared that may alleviate these problems. Multiscale models are essentially a hierarchy of sub-models which describe the material behavior at different spatial scales in such a way that the sub-models are interconnected. In this article we will introduce the underlying physical and computational concepts. We will give an overview of applications of multiscale modeling in food engineering, and discuss future prospects. (C) 2012 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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