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Near Infrared Spectroscopy (NIR) - Articles and news items
Issue 4 2013 / 28 August 2013 / Daniel Cozzolino School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, University of Adelaide
The term Process Analytical Technologies (PAT) describes the field of process analysis and measurement technologies that have been expanded to include several physical, chemical, mathematical and other analytical tools used to characterise chemical and biological processes. Over the past few years, on- in- and at-line analysis, the so-called PAT technologies, have demonstrated themselves to be one of the most efficient and advanced tools for continuous monitoring, as well as controlling the processes and the quality of raw ingredients and products in several applications among food processing, petrochemical and pharmaceutical industries.
Issue 1 2013 / 28 February 2013 / Federico Marini, Department of Chemistry, University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’
In the last 30 years, there has been increasing attention paid to the possibility of using Near Infrared (NIR) spectroscopy to deal with different aspects of food quality assessment. Indeed, the intrinsic characteristics of this technique, which, requiring little or no sample pretreatment, allows high throughput analyses in a rapid and non-invasive/non-destructive way, together with its easy on-line applicability, make NIR particularly suitable for real-time assessment and control of food quality both in a laboratory and on an industrial scale.
Issue 1 2012 / 6 March 2012 / Astrid Stevik, Research Scientist, SINTEF
In 2007, the Norwegian Research Council and several other funders enabled the (so far) largest competence building project in Norway within superchilling of fresh food, KMB Competitive Food Processing in Norway. SINTEF Energy Research has conducted the work together with dedicated industrial and research partners, and after five years of in-depth research on superchilling, the state-of-the-art boundary for the superchilling concept has been considerably moved.
The superchilling concept, lowering of the product temperature below the initial freezing point of the current product, has been known for decades. In spite of this, the industrial application of superchilling has been prevented by many barriers. Technological challenges have to some extent been an issue, but more important are the rigid conceptions on the disadvantages and limitations of superchilling which have prevented the breakthrough of this powerful tool for prolonging the shelf-life of fresh food. Thus, the KMB project was aimed at lowering the barrier for industrial implementation of superchilling by addressing some of the major challenges and myths through research, development and extensive cooperation with industrial partners.
Issue 1 2012 / 5 March 2012 / Jens Petter Wold, Nofima AS
In the meat industry, the profit margins are small and profitability depends on optimal utilisation of the carcasses. From slaughter to final product, the industry controls much of the production according to certain quality criteria such as muscle quality, fat and connective tissue content. One of the main products from the pork and beef deboning plants is batches of meat trimmings, which are valued by fat content; the lower the fat content, the higher the purchase value. As much as 60 per cent of the beef carcasses and about 45 per cent of pork carcasses ends up as trimmings. Improved industrial control of fat content in these batches would substantially add to profitability for many companies.
Industrial practice today is that the workers in the processing line adjust their cutting, based on training and experience, to reach target fat per cent in the batches. They manually sort the trimmings to make batches of typically 14, 18 or 24 per cent fat. However, this is a difficult task and large deviations from target fat content are common. This has led to the development of automatic monitoring systems for fat in the meat. At least three different measurement principles are in use today. The systems are based on non-invasive techniques such as microwaves, X-rays or near-infrared spectro – scopy (NIR)1. These systems are used to check that the target fat content of the batches is correct. The microwave and NIR systems usually require that the meat is ground before measurement. Many customers prefer intact meat trimmings for further processing since this product is supposed to have better technological quality than ground beef.
Issue 6 2011 / 4 January 2012 / Susanna Buratti and Gabriella Giovanelli, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of Milan
The rapid pace of change in the wine industry calls for fast methods providing real time information in order to assure the quality of the final product. NIR and MIR spectroscopy combined with sensory-instrumental methods (electronic nose and electronic tongue) can provide an ideal solution to monitor molecular and sensory changes in wine during alcoholic fermentation. The objective of this work was to investigate the potential of NIR and MIR spectroscopy, electronic nose and electronic tongue associated with chemometric data analysis to monitor time-related changes that occur during red wine fermentation. Micro-fermentation trials were conducted during the 2008 and 2009 vintages in Valtellina viticultural area (Northern Italy). During fermentation, at each sampling time, spectra were collected by FT-NIR and FT-IR spectrometers and samples were analysed by electronic nose and electronic tongue. Chemical analyses were performed to evaluate sugar, phenolic compounds, ethanol and glycerol concentrations. Various multivariate statistical methods were applied in order to obtain regression and classification models.
One of the most promising directions for the development of new methods is the application of sensor systems, whose speed and on-line capabilities meet the demand of automation and continuous process control. Electronic nose and electronic tongue are technological attempts to mimic human senses. Both devices consist of chemical sensor arrays, coupled with an appropriate pattern recognition system able to produce a fingerprint of the product.
Issue 4 2011 / 6 September 2011 / Professor Gerard Downey, Teagasc Food Research Centre Ashtown
The penetration of on-line NIR equipment in the food processing industries continues to grow as companies realise the full potential of this technique. For the most part, it is deployed to monitor concentrations of key components in a raw material or finished food product and, with the use of feedback control systems, rectify deviations from specification before any problems arise. However, NIR spectroscopy has the potential to play a much greater role in food companies and one key area has to be its use as a fingerprint technique to monitor conformance to specification or to afford a significant level of brand protection through real-time comparison of such spectral fingerprints to established company norms for any given product. This article reviews some recent developments in this area and, in particular, explains some new chemometric approaches which may be exploited for this purpose.
Quality is an important determinant of food choice by consumers but it is a credence attribute i.e. a property that cannot be verified by the consumer at point of purchase. Quality perception is most likely to be derived from other intrinsic or extrinsic clues such as brand name for example. To ensure repeat purchasing based on a quality attribute, therefore, a major challenge facing food companies is the collection of real-time data on products leaving the production line to demonstrate consistency i.e. continued conformance to their own production specifications.
Issue 1 2011 / 3 March 2011 / Nicoletta Sinelli and Ernestina Casiraghi, DiSTAM, Department of Food Science and Technology, Università degli Studi di Milano
The meat processing industry has shown an increasing demand for fast and reliable methods to determine product quality characteristics during the last few decades. Traditional quality analyses based on chemistry and microbiology have several drawbacks, the most significant of which are low speed, use of chemical products, high manual dexterity, destruction of the sample and the physical distance between the process and the analytical instrument. Several fast and non destructive instrumental methods have been proposed. Infrared spectroscopy has proven to be an interesting and good analytical method for at-line, on-line and in-line analyses for a variety of meat products and quality parameters.
Issue 4 2010 / 26 August 2010 / Astrid Stevik, Research Scientist, SINTEF
The discussion of the energy crisis for a steadily growing population is often limited to scarce amounts of electric power based on more or less environmentally friendly energy sources. However, lack of food, and in particular fresh food, is also part of the current energy crisis. Fresh food is one of the most valuable sources of energy and broad research and technology development is constantly ongoing to protect and utilise fresh food for human consumption in an energy efficient way.
The challenge for the food industry is consequently to conserve and utilise fresh food to give a high quality product, defeating the barriers of costs and varying storage/transport conditions. During the past decade, superchilling of fresh food has come up as an alternative and supplement to traditional conservation methods like freezing and chilling, and the R&D results for superchilling technology are promising.
Issue 4 2009 / 12 December 2009 / Richard Dempster, Director, Product and Technological Development, AIB International
Often, we get in the habit of accepting numbers from computerised displays without regard to accuracy or precision, and when we do evaluate a number, we often look at how precise it is. We forget that we can be very precisely wrong. We don’t really pay close attention to numbers from our bank’s ATM, a gas pump or a near infrared instrument unless we think they are substantially wrong. We certainly pay closer attention to our bank account but tend to accept numbers from other devices that may have greater monetary importance and higher error rates. In this article, I will give a brief overview of the main sources of error specifically associated with near infrared (NIR) instruments and what effect these errors have on the number displayed. The overall goal is to interpret the numbers correctly. In this article, I use NIR as a general term to include both reflective and transmission instruments.
Issue 3 2009 / 10 September 2009 / T. Hyvärinen & H. Karjalainen, SPECIM, Spectral Iimaging Ltd; D. Nilsson, Umbio AB and K. Lynch, Gilden Photonics
Hyperspectral imaging combines digital imaging with precise spectral information in each image pixel. It enables composition mapping in food and agricultural raw materials and products based on differences in the spectral signatures of the various chemical ingredients. Advances in hyperspectral cameras and image processing solutions are now making hyperspectral imaging an efficient tool for high throughput laboratory analyses, and even making it possible to apply it on-line in quality assurance and process control applications.
Issue 3 2007 / 4 September 2007 / Dr. Sam Millar, Campden & Chorleywood Food Research Association
Near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy offers users a rapid, non-destructive means of assessing a range of different food ingredients and finished products. Since its commercial development as a technique in the 1970s, it has been widely applied in a number of food sectors, particularly those related to cereal products. As instrumentation and data analysis techniques have developed, new approaches for the use of NIR have been generated through which its wider adoption within the food industry is ongoing. In addition to the work on NIR at CCFRA in the established areas of cereal compositional analysis, recent projects have also demonstrated a number of new approaches. Within these, the technique has been applied to other food matrices as well as to problems of a more complex nature for food materials derived from cereals.
3M Food Safety Analytik Jena AG ANDEROL EUROPE BV Bio-Rad Laboratories BIOTECON Diagnostics GmbH CAMO Software AS Carl Zeiss Microscopy GmbH CEERAM ExxonMobil Lubricants and Specialties FRAGOL GmbH+Co. KG FUCHS LUBRITECH GmbH Hanna Instruments, Inc. Hanovia Hosokawa Bepex GmbH Lovibond Tintometer NDC Infrared Engineering Ltd Ocean Optics Perten Instruments AB Petro-Canada Lubricants Randox Food Diagnostics Retsch Sample Preparation ROCOL Sandvik Process Systems AB SI Analytics GmbH SteriBeam Synbiosis Thermo Fisher Scientific ToxiMet Ltd Zeppelin Systems UK Limited