Skip to main content


Log in

Rheological Behaviors of Thickened Infant Formula Prepared with Xanthan Gum-Based Food Thickeners for Dysphagic Infants

  • Original Article
  • Published:
Dysphagia Aims and scope Submit manuscript


Thickened infant formula (TIF) prepared with commercial xanthan gum (XG)-based food thickeners are commonly used to care for infants with swallowing difficulties or regurgitation. In this study, the rheological properties of TIF prepared with four commercial food thickeners (coded A–D) were determined as a function of thickener concentration, thickener type, and setting time because the selection of an appropriate food thickener for TIF preparation is necessary for managing dysphagia in infants. The flow and dynamic rheological properties of TIF were investigated at three different concentrations (1.0, 2.0, and 3.0% w/w) of XG-based thickener. The flow properties of TIF were described by the power law and Casson models. All TIF samples demonstrated high shear-thinning (n = 0.12–0.33) behavior at all concentrations (1.0–3.0%). Their apparent viscosity (η a,50), consistency index (K), yield stress (σ oc), storage modulus (G′), and loss modulus (G″) increased with an increase in thickener concentration. In general, TIF with thickener A had much higher values for all flow parameters at each thickener concentration when compared to TIF with other thickeners (B, C, and D). However, the n values of TIF samples with thickener A were much lower, indicating that they are less slimy and have better mouthfeel than those of TIF samples with other thickeners. All TIF samples with different thickeners produced different thickening patterns over a setting time. The flow and dynamic rheological parameters demonstrated differences in the rheological behaviors between XG-based thickeners, indicating that their rheological properties are related to the concentration and type of thickener as well as the setting time. These results suggest the importance of considering not only the concentration and type of thickeners but also the time being administered after its addition to effectively treat dysphagic infants. In addition, selecting an appropriate commercial food thickener appears to be of great importance for the safe and easy swallowing of dysphagic infants.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this article

Price excludes VAT (USA)
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.

Instant access to the full article PDF.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5

Similar content being viewed by others


  1. Kim SG, Yoo B. Viscosity of dysphagia-oriented cold-thickened beverages: effect of setting time at refrigeration temperature. Int J Lang Commun Disord. 2015;50:397–402.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  2. Smith CH, Jebson EM, Hanson B. Thickened fluids: investigation of users’ experiences and perceptions. Clin Nutr. 2014;33:171–4.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  3. Dodrill P. Disorders affecting feeding and swallowing in infants and children. In: Groher ME, Crary MA, editors. Dysphagia: clinical management in adults and children. St. Louis: Elsevier Inc.; 2016. p. 271–304.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  4. Saigal S, Doyle LW. Preterm birth 3—an overview of mortality and sequelae of preterm birth from infancy to adulthood. Lancet. 2008;371:261–9.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Dodrill P. Treatment of feeding and swallowing difficulties in infants and children. In: Groher ME, Crary MA, editors. Dysphagia: clinical management in adults and children. St. Louis: Elsevier Inc.; 2016. p. 325–50.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  6. Woods CW, Oliver T, Lewis K, Yang Q. Development of necrotizing enterocolitis in premature infants receiving thickened feeds using SimplyThick®. J Perinatol. 2012;32:150–2.

    Article  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  7. Lee HY, Yoon SR, Yoo W, Yoo B. Effect of salivary reaction time on flow properties of commercial food thickeners used for dysphagic patients. Clin Nutr Res. 2016;5:55–9.

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  8. Hanson B, O’Leary MT, Smith CH. The effect of saliva on the viscosity of thickened drinks. Dysphagia. 2012;27:10–9.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Cho HM, Yoo B. Rheological characteristics of cold thickened beverages containing xanthan gum-based food thickeners used for dysphagia diets. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2015;115:106–11.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  10. Cho HM, Yoo W, Yoo B. Steady and dynamic rheological properties of thickened beverages used for dysphagia diets. Food Sci Biotechnol. 2012;21:1775–9.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Seo CW, Yoo B. Steady and dynamic shear rheological properties of gum-based food thickeners used for diet modification of patients with dysphagia: effect of concentration. Dysphagia. 2013;28:205–11.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  12. September C, Nicholson TM, Cichero JAY. Implications of changing the amount of thickener in thickened infant formula for infants with dysphagia. Dysphagia. 2014;29:432–7.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  13. Hong SR, Sun DS, Yoo W, Yoo B. Flow behaviors of commercial food thickeners used for the management of dysphagia: effect of temperature. Int J Food Eng. 2012;8:8.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Szczesniak AS, Farkas E. Objective characterization of the mouth feel of gum solutions. J Food Sci. 1963;27:381–5.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  15. Funami T. Next target for food hydrocolloid studies: texture design of foods using hydrocolloid technology. Food Hydrocoll. 2011;25:1904–14.

    Article  CAS  Google Scholar 

  16. Payne C, Methven L, Fairfield C, Bell A. Consistently inconsistent: commercially available starch-based dysphagia products. Dysphagia. 2011;26:27–33.

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  17. Sworn G. Xanthan gum. In: Imeson A, editor. Food stabilisers, thickeners and gelling agents. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.; 2010. p. 325–42.

    Google Scholar 

Download references


This work (2016R1A2B4010803) was supported by Mid-career Researcher Program through NRF grant funded by the MEST. This work was partially supported by the research program of Dongguk University, 2016. We would like to thank Rheosfood Inc. for providing technical assistance and the free food thickener A (Visco-up) sample.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Byoungseung Yoo.

Ethics declarations

Conflict of interest

The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Yoon, SN., Yoo, B. Rheological Behaviors of Thickened Infant Formula Prepared with Xanthan Gum-Based Food Thickeners for Dysphagic Infants. Dysphagia 32, 454–462 (2017).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: