Near Infrared Spectroscopy is a well-established technique and today an important element of quality control in the food industry. Bruker Optics modern FT-NIR spectrometers can analyze both, liquid and solid samples and are the ideal tool for the non-destructive and rapid analysis of raw materials, intermediate and finished products throughout the entire manufacturing process.
FT-NIR offers a fast and simple tool for the analysis of a wide range of raw materials, intermediates and finished products in the food industry.
In contrast to most wet-chemistry and other reference methods the FT-NIR technology is quick, cost- effective, non-destructive and safe, since it does not use chemicals, solvents or gases. It simply measures the absorption of near-infrared light of the sample at different wavelengths recording molecular vibrations of all molecules containing C-H, N-H or O-H groups. By this NIR spectroscopy is the first choice for the analysis of all kind of organic materials, making it ideal for a wide variety of foodstuffs.The key benefits of FT-NIR spectroscopy are:
Questions and concerns regarding food quality are endless, and the demand for easy-to-use tools to monitor and ensure the integrity of foodstuffs is growing around the world. FT-NIR is a powerful and effective technology for control of raw materials, intermediates and finished products. Common tasks in food processing are
Food ingredients and additives have been used for many years to preserve, flavor, blend, thicken and color foods. Identification of these materials can be applied similar to the raw material ID in pharmaceutical industry for organic pure substances as well as some inorganic minerals and salts. Examples are: fats and fat replacers, carbohydrates, vitamins and nutrients, amino acids, enzymes and preparations, emulsifiers, stabilizers, thickeners, binders, texturizers, preservatives, sweeteners and sugar replacements.
Conformitiy testing is a more specific evaluation of spectra down to individual data points for detecting deviations from a collection of reference sample spectra.
Sample spectra are compared to knowingly good batches of pure substances or well defined mixtures (e.g. flour samples, vitamin premixes) without the need for developing a quantitative method.
The concentrations of constituents such as protein, fat, moisture, carbohydrates, salt and fibers can be easily analyzed with FT-NIR spectroscopy, making it ideal to screen final products e.g. for labelling claims.
But also more specific parameters like fatty acid profile in oils and fats, lactose in milk and dairy samples, collagen in meat and meat products, acidity in condiments, sugars in confectionary, alcohol and denisty in beverages can be analyzed within seconds.
The high information content of NIR spectra provides a finger print of the complete sample. Comparing the spectra of the incoming raw materials with those measured using samples of known quality permits a non-targeted screening of adulterants or contaminants within the detection limits.
If a material is tested positive on adulteration by FT-NIR, further investigations with complementary analytical methods can be carried out to determine the exact identity of the adulterant.
By gaining tighter control over the manufacturing process, it is possible to optimize the use of materials and reduce or eliminate the production of off-specification material, thus saving reprocessing or disposal costs.
Common process control applications include: