Quality control for consistency of food and beverage products is of prime concern to manufacturers and consumers alike. Ensuring that produce looks, smells and tastes good, means consumers come back for more.With an ever-growing population demanding more food than ever before, simple, repeatable, instrumental test methods are required which quickly provide data from the factory, which allows a sustainable, secure supply of good quality food to the consumer.
Oxford Instruments offers a number of simple and rapid measurements based on the MQC and Pulsar benchtop NMR instruments. This analysis has a number of applications throughout the agriculture and food industries and help with safety, analysis and tracking. MQC is a low-cost NMR analyser designed for measurements of total oil or fat content in a variety of food raw materials or finished products. Pulsar adds an extra level of capability as a genuine high resolution NMR spectrometer adapted to industrial QC applications. Both instruments offer significant advantages over wet chemical methods in terms of throughput and ease of use, enabling more rapid screening at different points in the manufacture and supply chain.
Applications include measuring fat and oil in food and particularly snack food, analysing the fatty acid composition of triglycerides for polyunsaturated fats and omega-3 oils, measuring the solid fat content in margarine, baked goods and confectionary, the fluorine content in toothpaste and the oil and water content in seeds.
For a more detailed understanding of nutrients in food and especially their uptake in the human body, AFM can be used to study the uptake of dietary fats and especially the role of galactolipids in retarding lipolysis of dietary fats. Atomic force microscopy can provide unique data in food science. Researchers are looking at the structure of molecules in conditions close to native conditions (e.g. gelatin, casein, xanthin polysaccharides, pectins, amylose, and soya proteins). Larger structures are also being studied, such as polysaccharide gels, starch, gum, chocolate, and milk micelles.