A finite element model for mechanical deformation of single tomato suspension cells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


  • E Dintwa
  • P Jancsok
  • HK Mebatsion
  • B Verlinden
  • P Verboven
  • E Tijskens
  • H Ramon
  • B Nicolai

Colleges, School and Institutes


A finite element model was developed to simulate compression experiments on single tomato cells from suspension cultures. The cell was modelled as a thin-walled liquid-filled sphere with a permeable wall allowing flow of fluid out in response to internal turgor increases due to the compression. The permeability of the cell wall/plasma lemma was considered to be constant throughout compression. The contact between cell and compression probe was modelled using a soft contact boundary condition. The cytoplast was represented as an internal pressure acting on the plasma lemma and cell wall. Assuming linear elastic constitutive behaviour for the cell wall, and using previously determined cell wall material parameters, the model was found to be remarkably capable of reproducing the force-deformation behaviour of a single cell in compression, as well as its deformed shape, even for large strains. The model might be used as a building block to construct more comprehensive tissue deformation models. (C) 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-272
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Food Engineering
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2011


  • Model, Micromanipulation, Tomato cell, Fruit, Finite element, Single cell compression, Texture