• Microwave enhanced sample preparation for the food industry

Laboratory Products

Microwave enhanced sample preparation for the food industry

Feb 20 2020

Reduce ashing times for foods and feeds

By using a microwave enhanced muffle system, food ashing times can be reduced by up to 95% from hours to minutes using standard crucibles. Ashing of foods and feeds is an important sample preparation process but can often take many hours causing a bottleneck in the workflow.

Laboratories often do not know how long their ashing process takes as samples are left in the oven overnight ready for analysis the next morning. For instance, the ashing of wheat flour in a traditional muffle furnace takes over 6 hours that can be reduced to 50 minutes in a microwave system.   

The Milestone PYRO microwave ashing systems have additional range of potential applications, such as conventional ashing, sulphated ashing, loss on ignition (LOI), residue on ignition (ROI), fusion and all high-temperature reactions under controlled conditions.

Total fat measurements

The traditional extraction methods for the determination of fats in foods are well documented, especially for the dairy industry. They involve either acid or alkaline hydrolysis and then solvent extraction. These methods are labour intensive, require long extraction times, and have a high solvent consumption. Alternative gravimetric processes that are able to reduce the working steps and costs of these methods are therefore becoming more popular.

One such process uses a Milestone EthosX microwave enhanced extraction system that provides faster, safer and lower-cost fat extraction than traditional methods whilst providing equivalent results. The acid hydrolysis and solvent extraction stages work in parallel at elevated temperature and pressure conditions. This reduces both the working time as well as costs related to the large amounts of solvent used in traditional methods.

The Milestone EthosX system can be used with many food matrices and accurate total fat determination of 12 samples can be achieved in just 90 minutes using 25ml of solvent.

This would typically take 180 minutes and 100ml of solvent with traditional methods. Aside from the speed, safety and efficiency, advantages of the EthosX include its large sample size of up to 10 grams and the fat obtained can also be used for fatty acid analysis by GC or GCMS.

Rapid FAME preparation for GC/GCMS

The Milestone Ethos microwave enhanced systems enable rapid preparation of Fatty Acid Methyl Esters so laboratories can quickly and reproducibly derivatise fatty acids for subsequent analysis by GC/GCMS.

FAME preparation with an Ethos system combines simple methodology with the MAXI-44, a medium-pressure, high-throughput rotor that can carry up to 44 vessels for increased productivity.

This delivers all the benefits of microwave sample preparation to users, such as increased speed, accuracy, efficiency, safety. and cleanliness.

The systems allow testing laboratories to achieve the maximum possible levels of efficiency whilst maintaining ongoing compliance with organisations such as UKAS and equivalents across the UK and Ireland.

The Milestone Ethos and PYRO systems are controlled via full-colour, user-friendly touchscreen interfaces with full run data storage.


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