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Stable Micro Systems boosts rice quality testing

By Rod Addy , 19-Feb-2013

The rig can help manufacturers to test their rice products against their competitors to tailor it to consumers' tastes
The rig can help manufacturers to test their rice products against their competitors to tailor it to consumers' tastes

Texture analysis specialist Stable Micro Systems has launched a rice extrusion rig conforming to the newly-released International Standard (ISO 11747) for rice testing.

The equipment, which is available worldwide, enables growers, processors and food manufacturers to accurately analyse rice samples’ resistance to extrusion.

The new rig would help them select the types of rice with the right amylose content, gel consistency and gelling temperature for customers and consumers, Stable Micro Systems said.

“The new rig also enables sample preparation and test conditions to be standardised so that companies can compare results internationally,” Mark Proto, managing director of Stable Micro Systems told FoodProductionDaily.com.

“This is really important for global players who need to ensure same consistency batch after batch.

“Texture analysis in general also gives manufacturers a competitive edge. Analysing the texture of competitive products, and comparing against their own, means manufacturers have a clear view of their own advantages, and what improvements can or should be made.”

Proto told this site in addition to processors, organisations researching different types of rice would be interested in the equipment.  “Environmental conditions affect the quality of rice, so any company buying large quantities will need to rigorously check that the quality of each and every batch that comes in.

“They also need to check the consistency of rice coming from different parts of the world to make sure each batch meets their unique textural requirements. Texture analysis can help in both these cases.”

He said he expected the rig to be “well-received by researchers, processors and food manufacturers alike”.

Easier to remove and replace

Unique design features make the rig’s testing cell easier to remove and replace between tests, it added.

After cooking, a sample of the rice is placed in the rig’s testing cell. It is pushed down with a plunger of similar cross-section to the cell, compressing the rice and extruding it through holes in the base extrusion plate.

Resistance to extrusion is measured automatically as the ease of pushing the cooked rice through the perforated plate using compression and shear and recorded as mean force in kg/cm2.

‘Difficult to measure objectively and repeatedly’

“Food palatability is determined by many factors and texture is the one that can be difficult to measure objectively and repeatedly,” said Jo Smewing, applications manager at Stable Micro Systems.

“The challenge is magnified when we take into account regional preferences. In the Middle East and South Asia, dry and flaky rice varieties are preferred. But in Japan, the Republic of Korea and northern China, consumers opt for moist and sticky.”