UK-based Labcell has launched a meter that can determine the shelf-life of a food product in under five minutes, according to the company, reports Ahmed ElAmin.
The device measures free water in a product, which refers to water not bound into the product in any way and which is available for the growth of moulds and bacteria. Free water can have aninfluence on a products shelf life, odour, colour, flavour or texture. A product's characteristics will deteriorate faster as water content increases.
"Add too much and your product will mold on the shelf," Labcell stated in a press release. "Get the amount wrong, and your product will lose its crunchiness or softness.Combine two ingredients with incompatible water levels and get a clumpy mess that gums up the factory machinery."
AquaLab designed the new portable device for the food industry as a means of monitoring of free water activity on the production line and for quality control. The device can also be used forresearch and development or product examination in pharmaceutical laboratories, AquaLab stated.
The company claims the device will take a water level reading within five minutes, while similar competitive products get the job done in about 10 minutes.
AquaLab Lite incorporates technology from the company AquaLab Series 3, which it describes as the world's fastest and most accurate water activity meter, and its portable ultra-compact Pawkit wateractivity meter.
AquaLab Lite also uses the same sample cups and verification standards as the AquaLab Series 3 and the Pawkit so testing labs can use the device in conjunction with the larger models.