Rapid Characterisation of Fats in the Chocolate Industry
Chocolate producers and suppliers of fats and fat mixtures to the chocolate industry are often under pressure to decide within the shortest time after the arrival of a new shipment, if the crystallisation behaviour of the fat or fat mixture matches the requirements of the respective product. The problem they face is that the sample preparation usually takes a lot more time than decision makers have.
The time-domain nuclear magnetic resonance (TD-NMR) measurement of Solid Fat Content (SFC) in fats and fat compositions using the Direct and Indirect method are well established official standard methods (ISO, AOCS, IUPAC). While the measurement takes just 6 seconds, the sample preparation (including melting the fat or fat mixture, filling the sample tube, tempering it at melting temperature, and crystallising the fat sample in a certain polymorph plus the subsequent tempering at the measurement temperature) takes a lot of time. Especially for cocoa butter. When using cocoa butter equivalents and similar fats the whole sample preparation takes 44.5 hours. This is far too long to decide if the crystallisation behavior of the fat or fat mixture matches the requirements of the product or not. At chocolate industry sites, shipments arrive with the fat composition and the decision has to be made within 2 hours to unload them or not. Moreover the end use of the fat in processing (filling, covering, etc.) has to be decided.
Based on these requirements Analytik partner Bruker Biospin developed the Dynamic Fat Crystallisation application using the Minispec MQ 20. It provides a crystallisation pattern of fat on a timeline by measuring the solid fat content. This indirectly shows the initial crystallisation, the main crystallisation step and the final Solid Fat Content within 2 hours. Based on the speed of the crystallisation and the final Solid Fat Content, QC managers at factories can decide if the delivered fat is acceptable and unloaded or rejected, or if fat or mixtures are used for filling or covering applications. A correlation between the measured fat crystallisation pattern and product crystallisation in the production helps to improve the product quality.
Features and Benefits
The features and benefits of this method are as follows:
- Quality control of delivered fats and mixtures based on
- Rapid dynamic fat crystallisation analysis in a maximum of
2 hours including sample preparation
- Increased raw material quality leading to increased
- Easy to use by NMR non-specialists
- Minimal requirements regarding site and infrastructure
- No chemical preparation needed
Analytik are the exclusive UK and Ireland distributor of the Minispec MQ Series – the most comprehensive range of Time-Domain (TD) NMR measurement frequencies available on the market.
The minispec is perfectly suited to both QA/QC labs and R&D facilities because it is a non-destructive and non-invasive measurement that requires no sample preparation. The minispec mq series offers multi-application support and a wide range of upgrade features, such as tool-free exchangeable probes, variable temperature NMR probes and pulsed field gradient systems. For the best possible performance-to-footprint ratio for common QC applications, see the minispec mq-one series.