James Giese

After food ingredients, the most numerous category of exhibitors at IFT’s 2003 Food Expo® in Chicago, Ill., on July 12–16, was laboratory suppliers. The following is a roundup of some of the new products and developments these suppliers exhibited.

Peanut-Contaminated Foods may be detected with the use of the RidaScreen® Fast Peanut test kit. The test kit has been certified by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists International Research Institute (Certificate No. 030404). In a collaborative study, the ELISA test has been validated and certified as a performance method for the detection of peanut-contaminated food at levels as low as 5 ppm in a variety of foods. The test kit contains ready-to-use reagents including standards. The samples may be read using a microplate-reader and the necessary software or by a visual determination (not using a microplate reader), giving the user semi-quantitative results. The basis of the test is an antigen-antibody reaction (ELISA). The test was validated with cereals, cookies, ice cream, and chocolate in an independent study by three independent laboratories under the supervision of AOAC Research Institute, R-Biopharm, Inc., 7950 Old US A7, South Marshall, MI 49068 (phone 269-789-3033).

Texture Analyzer. Instron featured its 3300 Series Single Column Texture Analyzers. Designed to evaluate the texture of solid and semi-solid foods, the 3300 series is said to be a cost-effective solution for both quality assurance and research applications. It includes a precision load frame with integrated digital control electonics, a load cell, and Series IX Testing Software, The system provides automatic recognition and calibration of load cells, eliminating the need for calibration weights. A range of test fixtures and software allow food texture and food packaging testing to be performed on the same system. Instron Corp., 100 Royall St., Canton, MA 02021 (phone 800-564-8378; www.instron.com).

Miniature NIR Spectrometers for food analysis were displayed by Ocean Optics. The meters may be used for moisture analysis and determination of fats, sugars, and proteins. The PC-based standard model NIR512 spectrometer has a cooled detector that effective in the 0.9- to 1.7-nm range and acquires data as fast as 1 msec. The small-footprint plug-and-play spectrometer is said to be smaller than a breadbox and can be connected to a PC or other device that supports the RS-232 protocol. The company also exhibited optical sensors to measure dissolved CO2 in beverages and other liquids. The sensors may be used in beer, wine, and soda, as well as in biochemical and environmental samples such as freshwater and seawater. The real-time sensors have a dynamic range of 0–25% and offer high sensitivity in liquid samples, with a resolution as low as 0.001% at low concentrations. Ocean Optics, 380 Main St., Dunedin, FL 34698 (phone 733-2447; fax 727-733-3962).

Decision Support and management of the product development process may be accomplished with the use of Sopheon’s Accolade® software package. The software includes a process modeler to help with the management of the development process to bring products from idea to commercialization. An idea-management module lets the user gather and organize hundreds of ideas, collaboratively evaluating their potential and developing the best into commercial winners. The resource-planning module helps resource managers plan effective use of resources and evaluate capacity requirements. Sopheon Corp., 2850 Metro Dr., Minneapolis, MN 55425-1566 (phone 952-851-7500; fax 952-851-7744; www.sopheon.com).

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pH Analyzers, the new processLab™ series, accept rugged non-glass, silicon-chip sensor probes as well as conventional glass sensor pH probes. Designed for in-line, continuous process monitoring applications, the waterproof analyzers are configurable with relay and analog out    puts. Menus assist in setup and operation The instruments have simultaneous display of pH, temperature, date/time, and status of all relays and mA outputs. IQ Scientific Instruments, Inc. 11021 Via Frontera, Suite 200, San Diego, CA 92127 (phone 858-673-1851; fax 858-673 1853).

Portable Temper Meter, Model 205A, is said to offer accuracy and repeatability for the measurement of chocolate temper in a single, portable unit. Weighing 9 kg, the portable instrument is finding use by field, production, and laboratory personnel. The user fills a sample cup with chocolate, places it in the unit, and obtains temper results within minutes. Monitoring chocolate temper using a temper meter ensures the chocolate’s stability, best flow properties, rapid set, high gloss, mold release, and bloom resistance. Use of the instrument allows corrective action to be taken before temper becomes unacceptable and reduces production yield and shelf life. Upon completion of a temper test, the display provides numeric values indicating the status of chocolate temper. A hard copy of the test results and temper curve can be obtained using an optional remote printer. Tricor Systems, 1650 Todd Farm Dr., Elgin IL 60123.

Color Measurement of oils, fats, beers, malts, caramels, and other products may be accomplished with the use of the Lovibond PFX195 colorimeter. The new series of instruments offers a choice of more than 20 color scales. Each version includes a selection of scales that is typically used depending on the industry sector. Additional scales can be added as optional upgrades. The instrument allows the user to obtain the closest match to stored references or to build a customized scale from a series of reference samples. PetroLab Co., 874 Albany-Shaker Rd., Latham, NY 12110 (phone 518-783-5133).

Food Color Meter, the ColorTrend HT, may be used to continuously measure and report color and height of food products on a moving conveyor. It is suited for use for a variety of products, including breads, rolls, buns, potato/corn chips, peanuts, sugar, cookies, and crackers. The unit is positioned 2–6 in away from the product and designed for harsh production environments. The company also exhibited a new capability to measure coffee color on a continuous process line. HunterLab, 11491 Sunset Hills Rd., Reston, VA 20190 (phone 703-471-6870).

Listeria monocytogenes may be identified with a new rapid test. The OBIS Mono test is a quick biochemical screen to identify Listeria directly from a culture plate. The company also offers the Locate Salmonella test. This is a rapid 48-hr ELISA screen for the identification of Salmonella directly from food samples. The Dryspot Campylobacter Test is based on the principle that blue latex reagent sensitized with rabbit antibody reactive with selected Campylobacter cell surface antigens is dried onto the surface of reaction cards. Oxoid, Inc., 800 Proctor Ave., Ogdensburg, NY 13669 (phone 800-567-8378; fax 613-226-3728).

Laboratory Fluid-Bed Dryers are compact benchtop units that use an air delivery system and heater to rapidly remove moisture or solvents from lab samples with up to 80% moisture content. Units ensure thorough drying, even with fine or irregularly-shaped samples. Cole-Parmer Instrument Co., 625 E. Bunker Ct.,Vernon Hills, IL 60061 (phone 800-323-4340; fax 847-247-2929; e-mail [email protected]).

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Water Activity Instruments using digital signal processing are said to offer flexibility and reliability. The new line of instruments includes a handheld portable solution, PC-based software with indicator and probes, and a stand-alone instrument for the measurement of water activity. The portable unit, the Hygro-Palm AW, is an inexpensive instrument consisting of a microprocessor and a probe. For PC-based solutions, the company is offering the HW3 Aw Software and HygroLab 2. Automatic logging of end results, product description, probe identification, date, and time simplifies record keeping and is available in both measuring modes. The HygroLab 3 offers all of the features of the HygroLab 2, with the requirement of a PC for quick measurements. Up to four probes can be connected to the instrument for simultaneous measurement of four different product samples. Rotronic Instrument Corp., 106 E. Main St., Huntington, NY 11743 (phone 631-427-3902 or 800-628-7101; www.rotronic-usa.com).

Laboratory Refractometer, Model LR-01, measures the refractive index of the sample, computes its concentration, and presents the value on a digital display. The measurement can also be sent to an external printer or computer. The model features eight measuring scales (two standard plus six user-customized ranges), automatic zero calibration with water, printer, and computer outputs, single or continuous analysis, and voice synthesizer in four languages. The instrument has an optional flow-cell adapter for continuous analysis in pilot plants. Primary applications for the model include food, beverage, dairy, and chemical industry laboratories. Maselli Measurements, Inc., 7746 Lorraine Ave., Ste. 201, Stockton, CA 95210 (phone 209-474-9178; 800-964-9600; fax 209-474-9241; www.maselli.com).

FT-NIR Spectrometer, the MPA™, may be used for the measurement of iodine values, trans fatty acids, peroxide values, free fatty acids, peroxide values, and anisidine values. The multi-purpose instrument may be used for up to four different measurement techniques. Also, the Food Quality Product Suite line of spectroscopic methods is said to provide turnkey measurement methods for the food industry. Bruker Optics, Inc., 19 Fortune Dr., Billerica, MA 018121 (phone 978-439-9899; fax 978-663-9177; www.brukeroptics.com).

Microbial Detection in food products is made possible with the BioSys System. The system is a computerized instrument designed to rapidly detect microbial contamination in industrial samples, food, beverage, water, cosmetic, and nutraceutical products. Also capable of detecting the presence of various groups of organisms (e.g., coliform bacteria, yeasts and molds, lactic acid bacteria, and others), the system is said to be a rapid approach to microbiological safety. Other tests performed by the system are detection of spoilage organisms, shelf life assessment, microbial limits, and preservative challenge tests. The system is based on detection of the metabolic processes of the organisms, by combining newly developed dye technologies and optical sensors. Remel Inc., 12076 Santa Fe Dr., Lenexa, KS 66215 (phone 800-255-6730; fax 800-621-8251).

Screening Method, called Rapid-Screen, provides a positive or negative result for the Toxic Equivalency Quotient (TEQ) of a sample at some specified target point. The TEQ represents an estimate of the toxicity of the sample. Each compound has been assigned a Toxicity Equivalency Factor (TEF) by the Environmental Protection Agency. This factor is multiplied by the measured concentration, and the sum of these values is the TEQ, expressed in the units of the analysis (e.g., parts per trillion for a food sample). A screening analysis should not be confused with a validated analysis. Samples that give a positive result from a screening analysis must be analyzed by a validated method to meet regulatory compliance. The new technology allows screening for dioxins, furans, and PCBs in food and feed. Triangle Labs, 2445 S.Alston Ave., Durham, NC 27713 (phone 919-544-5729; fax 919-544-5491).

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Benchtop Shakers, called Lab-Line Force Orbital, operate in temperatures from 4 to 40oC and accommodate three platform-sized as well as dual-tier configurations. Precise microprocessor control of speeds from 15 to 500 rpm with 99.9-minute or hour timers makes the Force shakers perfect for cell, tissue, or bacterial studies, diagnostic tests, washing procedures, and more. The shaker carry a lifetime warranty on drive mechanisms and a 60-month warranty on components. Barnstead/Thermolyne, 2555 Kerper Blvd., Dubuque, Iowa 52001 (phone 319-556-2241; fax 319-589-0516).

Multi-Data Logger, the TrackSense II™, is a battery-driven universal logger with changeable sensors that is said to be easy to use in several food applications. With optional mounting accessories, the loggers can be mounted both on the inside and the outside of a variety of food containers and packages. The logger has an internal temperature sensor, which can be activated so that temperature can be monitored when using external pressure, relative humidity, or can rotation sensor. It can be used as a double temperature monitoring together with the company’s rigid/flexible solo temperature sensors. Ellab Inc., 6355 Ward Rd., Ste. 308, Arvada, CO 80004 (phone 303-425-3370; fax: 303-425-3384; e-mail [email protected]).

Fat and Oil Determination via the Isco rapid extraction system uses CO2, eliminating the hazards and delays of traditional organic solvent extraction. The FastFat HT and SFX 3560 instruments are used worldwide for QA/QC, process control, NIR calibration, and other applications requiring fast, accurate % fat determination. Applications include oilseeds, chocolate, baking mixes, snack foods, potato products, peanut products, meats, rice, animal feeds, and dairy products. Isco is the world’s leading manufacturer of analytical supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) instruments, and also offers systems for liquid chromatography and for monitoring environmental water quality. Isco Inc., 4700 Superior St., Lincoln NE 68504, (phone 800-228-4373, fax 402-465-3064, www.isco.com).

Food and Water Testing Products include the new iQ-Check Salmonella and iQ-Check Listeria monocytogenes kits—real-time PCR-based assays for the detection of Salmonella and L. monocytogenes in food samples. The use of chromogenic substrates in culture media is said to allow specific microorganisms to be tested for, identified, and enumerated in a single step. Bio-Rad Laboratories, 2000 Alfred Nobel Dr., Hercules, CA 94547.

Starch and Flour Sample Evaluation may be accomplished with the use of the Micro ViscoAmyloGraph. The new instrument needs only 5–10 g of sample for an evaluation. Total test time can be reduced with the use of an elevated temperature rate. Correlation software allows the user to compare up to 15 different curves. C.W. Brabender Instruments, Inc., 50 E. Wesley St., South Hackensack, NJ 07606 (phone 201-343-8425; www.cwbrabender.com).

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X-Ray Solutions are available for the rapid analysis of chemical phase, polymorphism, structure, texture, stress, orientation, elemental analysis, and composition in samples ranging from pure to inhomogeneous, small, and large samples. The instruments are said to determine and screen sugar and lipid distribution in food products without the need for sample prep. Bruker AXS, 5465 E. Cheryl Pkwy., Madison, WI 53711 (phone 608-276-3000; www.bruker-axs.com).

Refractometers can be used to measure the concentration of a broad range of aqueous solutions, from the sugar concentration of beverages, fruit juices, jam, and honey to the concentration of industrial fluids. Atago U.S.A., Inc., 13005 NE 126th Pl., Kirkland, WA 98034, (phone 425-821-9050, fax 425-825-5525; www.atago.net).

Microwave Moisture Analyzers available exhibited included moisture/solids analyzers, fat analyzers, muffle furnaces, sample preparation systems, and extraction systems. The company also provides experienced applications chemists and technical support personnel to solve difficult applications problems. CEM Corp., P.O. Box 200, Matthews, NC 28106 (phone 704-821-7015; www.cem.com).

Water Activity Meters exhibited included the new Instantaneous Water Activity Meter, which is said to greatly reduce the time of product analysis; the Safe Storage Meter, which allows the long-term monitoring of water activity and temperature; the Pawkit portable water activity meter; and two AquaLab water activity meters—the Series 3 with standard aw meter and the Series 3TE with internal temperature control. The patented chilled-mirror dew-point sensor measures water activity from 0.030 to 1.000. Decagon Devices, Inc., 950 NE Nelson Ct., Pullman, WA 99163 (phone 509-332-2756).

Food and Beverage Analysis may be accomplished using liquid chromatography systems to determine mono- and disaccharides and sugar alcohols. The company also offers ion chromatography systems for determining anions, including organic acids, and cations, including biogenic amines. Dionex Corp., 1228 Titan Way, Sunnyvale, CA 94088 (phone 408-737-0700; fax 408-730-9403; www.dionex.com).

Dispersion Analysis. The Turbiscan AGS is an automated aging station for the Turbiscan high-concentration emulsion and dispersion stability analyzer. Temperature can be controlled up to 60°C with a capacity of 54 samples. The instrument measures the destabilization of concentrated dispersions and determines the mechanisms driving it. It may be used to improve formulations, document stability tests, and shorten stability test time. Sci-Tec, Inc., 6660 N. High St. Suite 2A, Worthington, OH 43085 (phone 614-888-0023; fax 614-888-0285; www.sci-tec-inc.com)

Orbital Shakers, the VWR and VWR Signature Series, may be used in most laboratory shaking applications. Operating in either timed or continuous mode, the digital controller uses a microprocessor to provide motion control. The shakers can be configured with various accessories to fit individual needs. VWR International, 1310 Goshen Pkwy., West Chester, PA 19380 (phone 610-431-1700; fax 610-431-9174; www.vwrsp.com).

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Ruminant MBM Screen provides a simple, quick, and accurate method to detect the presence of ruminant meat and bone meal (MBM) in non-ruminant meat and bone meal. The test provides a method to protect business and industry from the consequences of the discovery of the accidental feeding of cattle with ruminant by-products. The Agri-Screen for Ruminant MBM is a single-step lateral flow immunochromatographic assay. Neogen Corp., 620 Lesher Pl., Lansing MI 48912 (phone 517 372 9200; fax 517 372 0108; e-mail [email protected]).

Food Safety Instruments are available for a wide range of research and quality assurance applications in the food industry. Cole-Parmer Instruments Co., 625 E. Bunker Ct., Vernon Hills, IL 60061 (phone 847-327-5859; fax 847-247-2983; www.coleparmer.com).

Meat Species Assay, the Melisa-Tek™, is intended to be used for the detection of animal species proteins in meat and bone meals, animal feeds, and cooked and uncooked foods. The newest method for speciation of products containing animal proteins is based on patented monoclonal antibodies to a thermostable, muscle-specific antigen and offers improved analytical performance for detection of species content in thermally processed products. The test will detect species content in products processed at temperatures exceeding 133°C and 3 bars of pressure and is both muscle and species specific. Testing for the presence of the species content in animal feeds is important because of the potential for transmission of BSE in ruminant feeds containing ruminant tissues. Elisa Technologies, 4581-L NW 6th St., Gainesville, FL 32609 (phone 352-337-3929; fax 352-337-3928).

Rheometer, the YR-1, is said to be a low-cost alternative to more complicated laboratory rheometers. It may be used for measuring the yield stress behavior of food products. Test results are displayed as a single yield stress number. Test data, torque vs time and stress vs strain, can be displayed in both tabular and graphical formats. Test parameters include test number and name, spindle number, immersion mark, pre-shear (rpm), wait time before test startup, run time, run speed (rpm), and low-and high-yield control limits (Pa). The new instrument is available in a variety of torque ranges for various applications, such as measuring pastes, spreads, soups, gravies, and sauces. The company also exhibited a new compact refrigerated circulating water bath for use with its rheometers. It also offers viscosity testing services, practical training in viscosity measurement and control, and seminars. Brookfield Engineering Laboratories, Inc., 11 Commerce Blvd., Middleboro, MA 02346-1031 (phone 508-946-6200; fax 508-946-6262; www.brookfieldengineering.com).

Digital Hand-Held Refractometer, the AR200, performs as well as most laboratory-grade automatic Abbe refractometers with the ease-of-use of a hand-held. It is designed to automatically detect and interpret the shadow-line with precision comparable to high-end automatic refractometers. Operator interpretation or unclear shadow-lines of traditional hand-held models are removed. It is said to be ideal for a wide variety of industries, including food and beverage. It can be used for checking fruit ripeness, solids levels, quality standards, raw material and solvent purity, concentration/mix ratios, and other applications. The instrument digitally measures critical angle, reflected light-refractive index, or % solids as Brix over a broad range (0–95% Brix) with accuracy to +/-0.0001 (0.1% Brix). The instrument features computer interface ability, custom channel programming, and automatic temperature compensation. Leica Microsystems, Inc., P.O. Box 123, Buffalo, NY 14240-0123 (phone 716-686-3000; fax 716-686-3085; www.analytical-refractometers.com).

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Colony Counter, the PetriScan®, a Petrifilm™ bacterial colony counter, responds to the critical need at food, beverage, and dairy laboratories for cost reduction and improved productivity. The new system has an inspection rate of four films in 40 sec, reducing Petrifilm colony-counting times. In addition, the system stores data and sample images in the laboratory database. Users can save, edit, retrieve, and archive sample information as needed, and an audit trail records all changes. Spiral Biotech, Inc., 2 Technology Way, Norwood, MA 02062 (phone 800-554-1620; 781-320-9000; fax 781-320-8181; www.spiralbiotech.com).

Staphylococcus aureus may be detected in foods with the use of the 3M Petrifilm Staph Express Count Plate. By identifying S. aureus in food and environmental samples, the plates are said to give food processors an indication and risk assessment of food quality and sanitation effectiveness. Distinctive red-violet colonies appear in as little as 22 hr and make interpretation easy. The test requires only one incubation temperature and is equivalent to the BAM three-plate Baird-Parker agar and tube coagulase method. 3M Microbiology Products, 3M Center Bldg. 275-5W-05, St. Paul, MN 55144-1000 (phone 800-228-3957; fax 800-241-5496).

Moisture Analyzer, the Mark 4, has a uni-balance mechanism. The mechanism is monolithic and is milled from a solid block of a proprietary alloyed aluminum. There are no fixtures, screws, or incompatible metals that constitute this balance and no differing stresses to the balance or thermal variations characteristic of different metals. The design is claimed to be more accurate and stable. Coupled with its ceramic heater, the analyzer provides fast and accurate moisture results. Omnimark Instrument Corp., 1320 S. Priest Dr., Ste. 104, Tempe, AZ 85281(phone 800-835-3211 or 480-784-2200; fax 480-784-4738).

Two-Stage Cooling has been added as a major upgrade to the miniature-scale plate-and-tube heat exchangers available on Armfield’s FT74X UHT/HTST system, one of the company’s most popular products used for research and development by the food and beverage industries. The units consist of a small-footprint service cabinet containing a pressurized hot water circulator on which interchangeable plate-and-tube heat exchangers can be mounted. Water circulating at over 160ºC enables a full range of processes from pasteurization to UHT operation, with throughputs of up to 20 L/hr. A membrane control panel allows the operator to set and display process parameters such as product pressure and temperatures throughout the process. A USB port allows real-time data logging. Armfield Ltd., Bridge House, West St., Ringwood, Hants. BH24 1DY, UK (phone +01425 478781; fax +01425 470916; e-mail [email protected]).

by James H. Giese
Internet Editor