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I am looking to purchase a microscope to better understand the changes to the food items at a microscopic level. Does anybody have any recommendations as to the type/brand of microscope I should purchase (ideally it would be able to capture digital images)?

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What do you want to see? There are changes in food on all levels. The ones referenced the most (gluten network building, denaturation of proteins) happen at molecule-level. For this, you need an electron microscope which costs more than the average person earns in a lifetime. There are changes you can observe on cell level, like loss of liquid, breakage of cell walls. This shouldn't need much magnification. I am not aware of any change inbetween that would be interesting in food, but maybe you can tell us what exactly you want to see? – rumtscho Apr 19 '11 at 9:21
you're absolutely right, i must have been a bit more specific. given my budget, i am a bit far away from the electron microscope for now. my immediate interest is in analyzing the change in potato cells when they are fried when making chips (or crisps for UK users). I blanch the potatoes before frying and I want to see what happens to cells blanching. i basically want to see the impact on starch levels so i do not get burnt out chips. – osahmali Apr 20 '11 at 21:54

I've had good luck using a Dino Scope for a variety of things, although I've never used it on food, nor subjected it to high temperatures. It offers up to 200x magnification, and can take images, movies, and time-lapse movies.

Some sample images can be seen here:

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