chocolate bloomHave you ever opened a piece of chocolate you haven’t eaten in a long time only to discover that its surface has this white dust-like appearance on it? This is a rather off-putting look especially when you compare it to a fresh bar of chocolate which still has the gleam and shine of a rich brown color.

Now as many chocolate lovers have noted, these chocolates are still safe to eat, it just doesn’t look as pretty and it is because of a process calling “blooming”, where the fats in the chocolate crystallize. In a bid to prevent that in the future and to help create better chocolate, scientists from the German national research center Deutsche Elektronen-Synchrotron, the Hamburg University of Technology, and Nestlé are using X-rays to study chocolate.

The scientists have deployed the use of DESY’s PETRA III X-ray machine which is apparently the most powerful light source of its kind, and the most brilliant storage-ring X-ray in the world as well. From there, the scientists are able to studying the process of chocolate bloom in real-time to find out on a molecular level how it happens.

So what’s with using such sophisticated to study chocolate? According to the study’s main author Svenja Reinke from Hamburg University, “Although fat blooming is perfectly harmless, it causes millions in damage to the food industry as a result of rejects and customer complaints. Despite this well-known quality issue, comparatively little has been known until now about its root causes.”

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