The same chemical reaction may be different in terms of its position of the equilibrium (i.e., thermodynamics) and its kinetics when studied in different foods. The diversity in the chemical composition of food and in its structural organization at macro-, meso-, and microscopic levels, that is, the food matrix, is responsible for this difference. In this viewpoint paper, the multiple, and interconnected ways the food matrix can affect chemical reactivity are summarized. Moreover, mechanistic and empirical approaches to explain and predict the effect of food matrix on chemical reactivity are described. Mechanistic models aim to quantify the effect of food matrix based on a detailed understanding of the chemical and physical phenomena occurring in food. Their applicability is limited at the moment to very simple food systems. Empirical modeling based on machine learning combined with data-mining techniques may represent an alternative, useful option to predict the effect of the food matrix on chemical reactivity and to identify chemical and physical properties to be further tested. In such a way the mechanistic understanding of the effect of the food matrix on chemical reactions can be improved.
- activity coefficients
- Food matrix