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Analog to Brix for Solid Food

RFI-170117

This opportunity is closed

Xinova seeks the disclosure of inventions that enable rapid measurement of sugar content in solid processed foods.

Sugar content is an important determinant of the nutritional value, taste characteristics, and physical properties of processed foods. The ability to rapidly measure sugar content during food production and processing is critical to ensuring consistently high product quality.

Brix is a method that has been widely used to rapidly verify the sugar content in beverages and other liquids for many decades. A typical Brix measurement may take less than five minutes to complete and is one of the most common methods used to ensure product quality.

The Brix measurement is only applicable to liquids, and no methods comparable to Brix exist for solid foods. Existing methods for sugar determination in solids generally are expensive and labor intensive, typically requiring 60-90 minutes per sample. The ability to rapidly measure sugar content, either manually or automated, in solid food using methods analogous to Brix would improve processes, thereby ensuring quality and consistency of processed food production.

Background

Brix refers to methodology originally developed by Adolf Brix in the 19th century to approximate the dissolved solid content in aqueous solutions by measurement of density or refractive index. The measured value is expressed as “Degrees Brix” (°Bx), or Brix value, by using a conversion table (see, e.g., Table 1). The Brix table is calibrated to relate the index of refraction or specific gravity of a pure solution of sucrose in water to the weight percent of dissolved sucrose, such that each °Bx unit corresponds to 1 weight percent dissolved sucrose.

When the same Brix conversion table is applied to solutions other than sucrose in water, the °Bx value provides a measure of all ingredients that modify the refractive index or specific gravity of the solution. In particular, these include the total dissolved solids, as well as non-aqueous liquids (e.g., alcohol, oils, or acids). In sugary beverages, the reported °Bx can be used to approximate the sugar content, since sugars often constitute the bulk of the dissolved solids.

Specialized procedures may further call for adjusted Brix values to compensate for certain known non-aqueous solvents or dissolved solids. For example, FDA regulations permit correcting the measured Brix values in citrus juices for the effects of known citric acid content during quality control inspections. For foods, measurement of Brix can be difficult as non-sugar solids comprise a significant proportion of the food matter. (read more)

This opportunity comes from the efforts of Xinova’s R&D Consulting and Innovation team.

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