List of Articles in the Category Moisture Analyzers

Moisture Analysis – A Close-up Look

Moisture Analysis - What You Need to KnowMoisture content is an important quality control criterion across the board and relates to establishing or conforming to specified levels of moisture in a product.  Correct moisture levels are established by government, trade and professional organizations and relate to the percentage of water and other liquids in a product.  Therefore, moisture analysis, can be viewed as first establishing recommended moisture content then checking to confirm that products meet the criterion during and after processing prior to packaging.

All of us experience the impact of incorrect moisture content.  Salt and sugar, for example, absorb moisture from the air and cake up.  Crispy potato chips quickly get gummy on humid picnic days.  Portland cement will turn into a block if left unsealed in the garage.

On the other side, when you buy a product by weight you don’t want to pay for excess water.  If water is intentionally added to a product … Read the rest

How to Check Moisture Content in Soybeans

Check Soybean Moisture Content

Soybeans and a product.

The U.S. Soybean Export Council says the most important storability factor in soybeans is soybean moisture content with recommended content based on end use of the product.  Examples include ≤ 11% for direct food use or seed, and 12.5-13% for solvent extraction.  Average moisture above 13% can lead to quality deterioration in a relative short time span.  Moisture content in soybeans can be quickly spot-checked with a benchtop moisture analyzer such as the MLS 50-3D available from Tovatech.

Benchtop moisture balances are widely used in many industries to check or confirm that moisture content meets specifications.  Excess moisture can lead to spoilage in grain products, for example. When products are sold by weight customers are paying for water rather than product.  When content is too low quality can also be affected and buyers get more than they pay for.

How Moisture Analyzers Work

A benchtop moisture … Read the rest

How to Check Moisture Content in Canola Seeds

Canola blossoms, seeds and oil

Canola blossoms, seeds and oil

Futures Knowledge reports that canola has increased to the world’s second largest oil crop and, with rising demand for canola seeds and oil, its production is expected to increase by 40% by 2025.  According to the Alberta Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry canola seeds along with other high oil seeds are more prone to deterioration in storage than cereal grains and must be stored at a lower moisture content level to prevent molding.  The name canola, by the way, combines Canada (one of the world’s leading producers) and oil.

By Canadian Grain Act standards, “canola is considered dry for marketing once the moisture is at 10 per cent or below. However, for long term storage, canola should be at or below 8.5 per cent moisture and 10⁰ C.”  Dryers using heated air can be used to remove moisture from canola seeds but it must be … Read the rest

How to Measure Wild Bird Seed Moisture Content

Proper moisture content helps ensure wild birdseed quality

Proper moisture content helps ensure wild birdseed quality

According to statistics published by the Wild Bird Feeding Industry (WBFI), approximately $5 billion was spent in the US and Canadian markets for bird seed in 2014. Moisture content in wild bird seed plays an important role in the products’ shelf life. The WFBI’s Quality Standards Program lists maximum recommended moisture standards for a wide variety of wild bird seed – examples being 12% for buckwheat, 9% for flax seed and 10% for sunflower chips.

Moisture and Birdseed Quality

Carolina Farm Stewards offers a publication “Seed Processing and Storage” by Jeffrey H. McCormack, PhD noting that “for each one percent increase in seed moisture, longevity decreases by half. This rule applies to seed with moisture content between 5 and 13%.” It also noted that “above 13% moisture content, seed storage fungi and increased heating due to respiration cause longevity to decline at … Read the rest

Sample Preparation Tips for Moisture Analysis

The EM 120-HR Moisture Analyzer

The EM 120-HR Moisture Analyzer

High-resolution halogen moisture analyzers such as the EM 120- HR offered by Tovatech are precision instruments able to determine moisture content to readout of 0.0001 gram or 0.001 percent moisture. Many of our posts on determining moisture content stress the importance of sample preparation for moisture analysis to achieve accurate readings.*

This post provides additional recommendations on preparing samples for moisture analysis. That’s because sampling and sample preparation have major influences on the reproducibility of the measured results. Reproducibility in this case, is the ability of the moisture balance to display the same result when like samples** are tested. It is expressed as a standard deviation. Note that as sample weight is increased reproducibility is improved. In the case of the EM 120-HR mentioned above, a 1g sample has a reproducibility of 0.1% and a 10 g sample 0.01%.

With that, here are some Tips … Read the rest

Moisture Content Analysis for Powdered Milk

Proper moisture content extends the shelf life of powdered milk

Proper moisture content extends the shelf life of powdered milk

Measuring the moisture content in powdered milk is an important quality control step. The Canadian Dairy Commission, for example, states that with low moisture content, chemical reactions in skim milk powder stored at room temperature take place so slowly that the nutritive value is not affected, even after years of storage. A variation is powdered filled milk that Wikipedia describes as filled milk when it is any milk, cream, or skim milk that has been reconstituted with fats, usually vegetable oils, from sources other than dairy cows.

Checking Moisture Content for Powdered Milk

According to the Canadian Dairy Commission target moisture content is 3- 4%. Spray drying is the principal method used for drying milk in the dairy industry. As explained in a Food Product Design article spray drying in its simplest form consists of atomizing the feed, spray-air contact, … Read the rest

How to Develop Moisture Analysis Methods

The MS-70 high resolution moisture analyzer

The MS-70 high resolution moisture analyzer

Many of our posts on using a moisture analyzer to check on moisture content provide examples of conducting a moisture analysis for a specific product. The importance of proper moisture content is described in our post on why moisture content matters. But how is a moisture analysis method developed?

Several analyses may be made by researchers in order to identify the parameters to apply for a specific product such as plastic pellets, sugar, body lotion and bread crumbs. Among the testing parameters to be identified are included:

• Sample size. Usually in grams, but how much should be used for the analysis?
• Sample protection. Certain products may require being placed on and/or covered by fiberglass filters.
• Drying temperature. Too hot or not hot enough may skew results.
• Drying profile. This relates to how heat is applied to the … Read the rest

Swimming in Bacteria: Moisture Content and Food-Borne Illnesses

As many Americans prepare for the Independence Day holiday as well as summer road trips and vacations, they often take with them their favorite summertime meals. Breads, meats, cheeses and other foods are all traditional holiday favorites, but many of these party foods can carry unwelcome guests: bacteria. Food-borne illnesses, such as those caused by salmonella and E. coli, force thousands of people each year into emergency rooms. Before the processors ship these foods to stores, they insure that each product has the ideal moisture content level to prevent spoilage.

Bacteria and Moisture in Food
The moisture content in food gives it texture, taste and appeal. This moisture can also make foodsome foods an inviting home for bacteria. Foods that contain high levels of sugar, salt and other dissolved materials prevent the bacteria from accessing the moisture they need to survive, while dried foods have moisture levels below those that … Read the rest

Checking Moisture Content in Tea

Tea ready for brewing

Tea ready for brewing

Moisture content in tea is an important indicator of quality and shelf life. Both black tea and green tea have a target moisture content of less than 4% as anything higher leads to deterioration in quality – a loss in briskness ending up as “flat.” According to Tocklai, India’s Tea Research Association, the drying process reduces 100 kg of fresh leaf to 22.5 kg of dried tea at residual 3% moisture. In general half of the 77.5 kg difference is evaporated during withering and the remainder is evaporated in fluid bed or other bulk dryers.

The Tea Research Institute of Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) issued a circular noting that keeping moisture content within bounds is accomplished by proper drying, preventing moisture absorption during grading, and packing tea in proper containers for shipping.

A Moisture Analyzer Spot Checks Tea Quality

The Tea Research Institute notes that the … Read the rest

Space Case: Moisture Analyzers, Curiosity and the Minerals from Mars

The recent landing of the Curiosity probe on the surface of Mars has sparked a new wave of excitement in the space science community. The six-wheeled rover will explore the surface of the Red Planet, send back images and collect rock samples. Researchers expect Curiosity to compile data on, among other things, the potential for moisture on the Martian surface. If the craft can determine that the now-barren surface once contained water, the discovery could answer several questions, while raising others.

How Curiosity Works
The latest Martian probe has several distinct features, such as cameras, sensors and tools for curiosity-rovercollecting mineral samples. One of the cameras, known as the ChemCam, can analyze vapor emanations from several yards away to determine if the offshoots contain any water vapor. If the readings are positive for water vapor, Curiosity will roll to the site and collect samples. Another tool on the probe can … Read the rest