Role of moisture in food products

Moisture is one of the key components of a
food commodity that is traded, eaten or used in other formats. In the world of
food trade the benchmark analysis primarily revolves around moisture component
at the basic level, as, of all the kinds of nutrients that a commodity is
comprised off, moisture is the key construct. 

Moisture content in a food material determines
the suitability of the food material for consumption or processing as moisture
has the potential to alter physical and chemical components of food, which in
turn determines whether food has freshness and stability imbedded in it for
storage for a longer time span.

The analysis of moisture content in a
product is what determines its qualitativeness. It is the key function of
quality control in majority of production processes. Be it a research
organization engaged in biological research, food producers and traders, an
entity producing pharmaceuticals, it is the moisture component that is the
benchmark to ascertain physical properties and quality of products of all the
substances and materials, a determining factor through the product cycle from
raw form right up to the processed state.

It is an innocuous moisture that has the
ability to alter the following properties by minute deficiency or miniscule
abundance and it includes:

  • Weight change
  • Thermal expansion in the
    product
  • electrical conductivity and
    amalgamation

In a processed product the moisture
component determines the shelf life, the chemical reactions that would take
place in the product while it is kept in an inventory etc.  The challenge therefore is to be able to pin-pointedly
discern and check optimality of moisture through various levels of processing
as success of countless business operations and scientific operations hinge on
this ability.

Sample weight resolution is another
critical component in the moisture analysis. Moisture determination is
considered successful if it is done in a jiffy, i.e. being able to do it at the
point of processing and brining about necessary changes so that it does not
alter the product integrity.

This being the case, moisture testing
should have been a key component of all the food based products being used in
all kind of industries and that too at the source. However, the NACL accredited
laboratories are only 28 in number which have the potential to undertake the
moisture tests.

In the present times- COVID time that is-
testing of the moisture component is a big headache as most of the laboratories
are closed and on account of the lock down the quality professionals have left.
 But technology has come to the rescue
and AgNext is leading this change through its AI driven software which has the
ability to do rapid sample testing and provide the results within a shortest
turnaround time.

The simplicity of the technology has to be
seen to be believed and the practitioners need to test the product out to
understand its importance.

Nalin

1 comment

  1. MANINDER PAL SINGH SETHI
    May 18, 2020 at 7:50 am

    Heading should have been ” Effect of moisture content on grain quality and shelf life”

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