Campden BRI is strengthening its food analysis capabilities with a six-figure investment in a micro computed tomography (CT) instrument. The company said that the new CT scanner will enhance and complement the suite of imaging techniques already on offer at Campden BRI by enabling its scientists to measure and image the internal structure of small […]
The company said that the new CT scanner will enhance and complement the suite of imaging techniques already on offer at Campden BRI by enabling its scientists to measure and image the internal structure of small samples in 3D at high resolution without destroying the sample.
The scanner, which works on the same principle as medical CT scanners, will be used to analyse a wide range of samples – including food, packaging and foreign bodies – which can be displayed as 3D views or cross-sections, and analysed to provide accurate measurements of 3D structures.
The CT scanner has many potential uses, Campden BRI believes. It can, for example, measure porosity or how much air is inside an aerated product (It is important to know the porosity of a product because it affects its volume, texture and sensory acceptability). CT analysis can be used to measure the size and distribution of different components in a product with a composite structure, such as a biscuit with a chocolate coating or a crisp with salt on its surface.
The CT scanner also has non-food applications, such as packaging analysis to check that the dimensions are within the specifications or to image faults such as the seal between packaging components.
“Traditional 2D imaging techniques usually involve destructive sample preparation and the information is often insufficient to draw conclusions regarding the 3D structure,” said Dr. Alix Cornish, Research Scientist at Campden BRI. “We have been using X-ray tomography systems to help our clients develop new products for some time and are delighted to have a CT scanner permanently available in our imaging laboratory.”
Other imaging techniques available at Campden BRI include near infra-red hyperspectral imaging (which provides detailed maps of food and packaging composition), scanning electron and optical microscopy, and particle shape and size analysis.