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9/17/2010
NIR inspection systems by Sacmi

Interesting applications in the olive oil sector

Increasingly in recent years, near-infrared (NIR) spectroscopic instruments have found widespread application in the food industry. SACMI continues to follow and, indeed, set this trend with its own NIR products for the beverage industry.

In several fields these instruments have replaced more traditional tools because they offer a series of advantages, the most important being that the sheer speed of analysis allows quality control to be executed directly on the production line. Moreover, no solvents are needed and environmental impact is decidedly low.

Now the olive oil sector is beginning to use these inspection devices to assess, for example, the characteristics of both the olives (to measure oil and water content) and the oil that results from pressing them (measurement of acidity, peroxides and the phenolic compounds in the oil).

To illustrate just how fast NIR inspection is bear in mind that all you need to do is place the oil in a specific container and press a button to obtain instantaneous results concerning the analysis the instrument had previously been ‘trained’ to perform.

Various NIR instruments are available but the portable NIR CASE produced by Sacmi Imola is of particular interest; it was recently used by researchers at the University of Bologna (Department of Food Science) to evaluate the changes in oil characteristics that occur during heating processes (at a cooking temperature of 180 °C).

This research program highlighted the instrument’s capacity to differentiate various types of extra virgin oil as a function of the heat treatment they had undergone. The results of the research will soon be published in an international science magazine.

The same research group is also assessing the device as a possible means of identifying fraud in the extra virgin olive oil industry.

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