The importance of homogenisation for food testing

The importance of homogenisation for food testing

Meeting stringent standards for food production or quality control is heavily dependent on reproducible and representative sample preparation.

From inhomogeneous to homogeneous food samples

Food products are available in a great variety of forms and consistencies and are usually inhomogeneous.  From detecting hazardous substances to finding nutritional values, homogeneous and representative samples are required to obtain reproducible and meaningful results. Samples, which are often varied in structure or complex in nature, need to be homogenised and reduced to a suitable particle size prior to analysis. Laboratory mills of different designs are ideally suited for this process.

Representing to original sample

Most analytical techniques only require small sample volumes but even small samples must represent the entire original sample.  The composition of the analysis sample may vary, depending from which part of the original sample it was extracted. Cereal bars, for example, consist of a variety of ingredients which all need to be represented in the part sample to ensure correct determination of the nutritional values. This is achieved by thoroughly homogenising the cereal bars prior to analysis.

As fine as necessary, not as fine as possible

Grinding parameters and accessories should be selected with regard to preserving the sample properties to be analysed. A basic rule is to only grind the sample as fine as necessary and not as fine as possible, as this always generates more effort (energy input, time, heat, wear). The sample preparation process and the required particle size depend on the chosen analysis method. A particle size of 0.5 mm is ideally suited for most digestion and extraction methods.

Food products vary greatly with regards to hardness, moisture or fat content. We offer a variety of Retsch mills and grinders suitable for the different requirements of food analysis. In many laboratories a large number of samples is analysed each day. Thanks to simple and intuitive handling, effective size reduction and quick and easy cleaning, Retsch instruments help to increase the efficiency in the food lab.

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