Food Industry | X-Ray Fluorescence

At our applications lab we do several analysis. We´d like to share an interesting example with you.

Cereals, consumed as whole, treated grains or in milled form (flower), constitute the base of all human and farm animals feed. Worldwide, cereal production in 2017/2018 surpassed 2 700 million tons (data obtained from FAO website), with wheat and rice representing 47%.

Industrial milling is achieved by means of stainless-steel blades which, if not properly maintained, can contaminate the flower with iron, chromium and nickel.

In this study, two milled products of the same cereal were analysed to verify the possible contamination with metals during the milling process.

X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) is a non-destructive elemental analysis technique which provides both qualitative and quantitative data ranging from sub-ppm to 100% (m/m), depending on the equipment, matrix and element considered.

The Image 1 is a zoomed view of the overlaid spectra of both samples analysed. This region evidences the presence of Chromium and Nickel in the sample identified as “Suspect” while absent in the sample identified as “Good”. Additionally, the iron amount is significantly higher in the “Suspect” sample. Both results indicate that the “Suspect” sample has indeed been contaminated by the stainless-steel blades during milling due to its wear.

The equipment used in this work was Supermini200 from Rigaku, a tabletop WD-XRF. The range of analysed elements goes from Oxygen to Uranium and can measure both solids and liquids in helium or vacuum atmosphere. For more information, please click on the Brochure below.

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