Food Science Terms - L

Lactase: enzyme with only one function: breaking down lactose into smaller sugars. Lactase deficiency is the most common cause of lactose intolerance

Lactic acid: produced from lactose in milk, by bacteria involved in the production of cheese and yoghurt. Also produced in anaerobic exercise

Lacto-ovo-vegetarian: Person who does not eat meat, poultry, or fish but eats eggs and dairy products as well as foods of plant origin. 

Lactobacillus: Type of prebiotic/probiotic found in yogurt and some other dairy products which may improve gastrointestinal health. 

Lactose: Also known as "milk sugar” as it adds body and sweet flavor to the milk. Occurs to a level of 4-5% in milk. Its sweetness is approximately 30% that of table sugar. On hydrolysis yields glucose and galactose. 

Laminate: Combine two or more layers of material to form packaging. The layers are held together by an adhesive or heat bonding. 

Lauric Fats: Lauric Fats typically contain 40-50% lauric acid in a combination with lesser amounts of other relatively low molecular weight fatty acids. These fats are obtained from various species of the oil palm. 

Layout: Arrangement of physical facilities and equipment within an area. 

Leaven: Add a substance to (bread and other things made with flour) to make it get bigger when it is cooked. Yeast is added to yeast-leavened bread to make it rise and increase in volume. 

Leavening agents: (also called raising agents) are substances that promote volume increase by aeration eg yeast, baking soda

Lecithin: substance commonly used as an emulsifier, commonly found in egg yolk. A Phosphatide naturally occurring in oil from both plants and animals. Lecithin is capable of forming colloidal solutions in water and possesses emulsifying, wetting and antioxidant properties. 

Legumes: plants in the pea family, often nutrient-rich. Many help to fertilize the soil around them (eg peas, peanuts, navy beans)

Lignans: Type of phytoestrogen found in flax, rye and various vegetables which may provide the health benefits of lowering LDL cholesterol, total cholesterol and triglycerides thereby protecting against heart disease and some cancers. 

Lipid: group of compounds insoluble in water; includes fats and oils with various functions eg energy yielding and as structural components

Liposoluble: substance that can dissolve in fats and oils

Liquid crystals: Materials, which have properties that are useful for thermal sensing. Liquid crystals typically change color with temperature. 

Liquid Smoke: Approved smoke that has been distilled onto a liquid carrier for application to a food product. 

Listeria: Listeria monocytogenes is a Gram-positive bacterium, found in at least 37 mammalian species, as well as 17 species of birds and possibly some fish and shellfish. The bacteria can be isolated from soil, and is resistant to heat, freezing and drying. Listeria has been associated with foods such as raw milk, soft-ripened cheeses, ice cream, raw vegetables, raw and cooked poultry, raw meat and raw and smoked fish. Unlike other pathogenic bacteria, such as salmonella, listeria can survive and grow at temperatures as low as 5°C (41°F). 

LM pectins: Low-Methoxyl pectins. 

Low fat cocoa: Cocoa powder composed of less than 10% cocoa butter. 

Low-acid foods: Foods which contain very little acid and have a pH above 4.6. The acidity in these foods is insufficient to prevent the growth of the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. Vegetables, some tomatoes, figs, all meats, fish, seafoods, and some dairy foods are low acid. To control all risks of botulism, jars of these foods must be (1) heat processed in a pressure canner, or (2) acidified to a pH of 4.6 or lower before processing in boiling water. 

Lutein: Type of carotenoid found in most green vegetables which positively contributes to maintenance of eye vision. 

Lycopene: carotenoid related to the better known beta-carotene. Lycopene gives tomatoes, berries, as well as other fruits and vegetables their distinctive red color. Nutritionally, it functions as an antioxidant. Research shows lycopene is best absorbed by the body when consumed as tomatoes that have been heat-processed using a small amount of oil. This includes products such as tomato sauce and tomato paste. 

Lysine: Essential, basic amino acid obtained from many proteins by hydrolysis



Back to Food Science