Monitoring the Color Stability of Dental Composite Resin with Spectral Technology

color stability of dental composite resin
Color change is a major concern when working with these composite resins and has become one of the major reasons for replacing restorations over time. Image Source: Flickr’ user Azure Dental

Last weekend we attended an epic barbeque, complete with food, drinks, and outdoor recreation which included a 100-foot giant slip n’ slide. Although the highlight of the afternoon was our group volleyball game of husbands vs. wives. I am happy to say that it was a fairly competitive game and we ended up two for two by the end of the evening. However, although I love playing volleyball, stepping out onto the court instantly brought back PTSD symptoms of my middle school years. Let just say that during my early playing days, the gym floor and I got a little too personal and met face to face. The floor won and I ended up with two little stubs of front teeth to show for it. The evidence is still visible today and each time I smile I am a little self-conscious of the color difference between my natural teeth and the composite material. Apparently dental technology was not up to par 20 years ago and the color stability of dental composite resin often deteriorated over time. Dental composites today are much more advanced and color measurement technology ensures that tooth color resins meet quality standards for appearance and longevity.

color stability of dental composite resin
Composite resins must be carefully analyzed to ensure accurate color matching, longevity, and stability. Image Source: Flickr’ user Ida Aguilar D.D.S.

Monitoring Color Stability with Spectral Technology

Composite resins are commonly used restorative materials in esthetic dental procedures due to their superior ability to adhere to enamel and dentin. Unfortunately, color change presents a major challenge when working with these materials and has become one of the major reasons for replacing restorations over time.”1. There are many factors that affect the color stability of composite resins and these materials must be carefully analyzed to ensure accurate color matching, longevity, and stability.

Portable spectrophotometers offer the advanced technology needed to monitor the color stability of dental composite resin and are a commonly used tool in dental laboratories and offices. This instrumentation utilizes the CIELab system for classifying and correlating color numerically, with the ability to calculate the difference between two colors using a standardize color formulation. Measuring the reflection of the resin with an optical geometry of d/8º gives a spectral curve in the visible frequency range of 400-700nm2. By honing in on this detailed information, laboratory technicians can then modify their formulations to improve the color matching and stability of their resins and use this data to monitor changes over time.

color stability of dental composite resin tooth
Spectrophotometers are important tools for color matching and are used by both laboratory and dental technicians. Image Source: Flickr’ user The Tooth Station

Addressing Challenges of Color-Matching

Color matching is one of the most important characteristics of esthetic dental composite resins. However, color matching of natural tooth enamel presents one of the greatest challenges in clinical dentistry. Exact color matching and reproduction is critical in composite tooth restorations and requires quantifiable data. The human eye alone cannot consistently identify tooth color and various light sources can alter the perception of tooth color. In order to obtain objective color measurements of natural tooth enamel and composite resin materials, spectrophotometric technology must be implemented both in the dental office and throughout laboratory processing.

Creating an accurate analysis of tooth color requires multiple readings and data to create an average sample measurement. Averaging color helps to ensure that a perfect enamel match is obtained and that the resin color falls within the acceptable parameter. Because resins vary in consistency and thickness, using the right spectrophotometric techniques and creating an average sample reading makes accurate resin color analysis simple. Spherical spectrophotometric technology accounts for variations in thickness and texture ensuring accurate color measurement every time.

The Right Instrumentation for Quality

From the dental chair to the laboratory and back to the patient again, color stability of dental composite resin requires advanced color measurement tools for quality materials and happy clients. Using the same instrumentation throughout these processes ensures that data and color matching remain consistent, reducing the chance of variations over time. HunterLab spectrophotometers utilize the latest color measurement technology and provide satisfying results in dental resin color analysis. Our instrumentation is easily calibrated to maintain agreement between the various stages of tooth restoration, and the unique design of our color measurement tools allow for adaptability within this industry. To find out more about the HunterLab commitment to color measurement and our unique customer support promise, contact us today.

  1. “Enamel Susceptibility to Coffee and Red Wine Staining at Different Intervals Elapsed from Bleaching: A Photoreflectance Spectrophotometry Analysis”, October 17, 2010, http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/pho.2009.2627?src=recsys&journalCode=pho
  2. “Repeatability of Colour Reading With a Clinical and a Laboratory Spectrophotometer”, September/October 2006, http://www.moderndentistrymedia.com/sept_oct_2006/corciolani.pdf

Using Wine Bottle Glass Colors to Reduce Light Exposure and Improve Quality

wine bottle glass colors
Wine bottle glass colors are carefully chosen to preserve wine integrity and improve marketability. Image Source: Flickr user Alex Brown

I feel blessed to live in one of the most beautiful areas in our country. The Pacific NW offers the perfect climate and landscape for summer recreation and one way to enjoy the great outdoors is to spend a Sunday afternoon driving through the hills and valleys of this region. A quick drive into the country can lead to beautiful landscapes covered with rolling vineyards and architecturally beautiful wineries. The wine industry has grown significantly in this area over the past several decades and in just an afternoon you can stop by more than a handful of destinations and sample a large variety of fine wines. On our last winery tour I was given yet another lesson on wine tasting, but this time the conversation was not about the actual wine itself. In fact, I spent nearly an hour with the vintner discussing wine bottle glass colors. You may be wondering how the color of the bottles could possible warrant that much attention, but in truth it plays a significant role in wine integrity and marketability.

Most wine connoisseurs know that proper storage conditions greatly affect the quality of wines. Light and high temperatures are the main culprits for altering wine integrity and can have a direct effect on taste and color. “Studies have shown that the color of the glass affects the color and aroma of the wine within when exposed to light; specifically it was found that green bottles have a greater protective effect against light than lighter colored bottles when held at a constant temperature. Interestingly, other studies have found the exact opposite, so it’s not completely clear what is going on inside those bottles when exposed to light.”1. Glass color measurement provides insight on how light affects wine after bottling and can help wine producers make important choices when it comes to bottling quality wines.

wine bottle glass colors
Monitoring glass color with advanced spectral technology provides the data needed to make the best choices in bottling options. Image Source: Flickr user dpotera

Measuring Glass Color

Wine bottles are available in a wide array of colors such as arctic blue, antique green, flint, and clear. Vintners often choose a bottle color to increase marketability and brand name recognition. However, glass color is also important when it comes to protecting the quality and integrity of fine wines as well as adding to the visual appeal. Because bottle color affects both light exposure and internal temperatures, storage conditions are often evaluated before choosing a bottle color. Light wines such as whites or roses are often bottled in lighter colors to showcase the beautiful blush coloring or influence consumer perception. Since these wines are typically stored and served in cooler condition, light exposure is limited and temperatures do not vary as drastically. On the other hand, darker colored wines like reds are often served at room temperature making the chance of UV exposure more likely. While darker colored bottles do absorb more heat, they are often used to reduce UV light exposure, which can help protect wine color and flavor.

Many major wine producers use spectrophotometers to evaluate wine bottle glass colors and make informed choices in bottling options. When clear glass bottles are desired to showcase the color of wine, assessing translucency can improve appearance and marketability. Instrumentation that utilizes spherical technology can accurately measure clear solid samples. This technology sees beyond the basic viewing parameters of the visible spectrum and quantifies color data for improved consistency. This measurement technique also accounts for reflectance and haze to monitor clarity and quality in glass bottles. Other variations in wine bottle glass colors, such as green, blue or brown glass can also benefit from this technology. The ability to measure UV reflectance, color and opacity can help vintners determine the best glass color for UV protection and light transmittance quality.

wine bottle glass colors green
Monitoring color consistency increases visual appeal and improves consumer acceptance and choice. Image Source: Flickr user Trilock Rangan

Monitoring Glass Color Consistency for Quality

Not only does glass color affect the quality of wine internally, but external perception is also one of the first factors that influence consumer choices. Maintaining color consistency and visual appeal is critical for ensuring name brand excellence and quality perception. Spectrophotometers are essential for maintaining glass color consistency and monitoring quality in wine bottle production. Instrumentation such as the UltraScan PRO spectrophotometer utilizes a sphere geometry to measure both the reflected and/or transmitted color at extended wavelengths and quantifies the exact color for repeatability and quality control. Since color varies under certain light, this spectrophotometer also controls the lighting conditions, giving the most accurate representation of color when considering bottling choices.

Spectrophotometry in the Wine Industry

Wine consumption has grown continuously in America over the past 20 years and research shows that it is expected to keep growing at a rate of around 2 to 3 percent per year. With over 7,700 wineries across the country2, competition is growing, making quality and marketability a top priority in this industry. Choosing quality wine bottle glass colors is essential for protecting the quality and integrity of your wine and increasing visual appeal and marketability. HunterLab offers a variety of instrumentation options specifically design to measure glass color and quality. From bottle color to monitoring wine quality and changes, our spectrophotometers can help improve the quality and marketability of your products. For more information on color measurement in the glass and wine industries, contact us today.

  1. “The Influence of Bottle Color on Wine Quality When Exposed to Light and Varied Temperatures”, April 29, 2013, http://www.academicwino.com/2013/04/bottle-color-wine-quality-light-temperature.html/
  2. “The state of wine drinking in America today”, January 24, 2016, http://theweek.com/articles/532653/state-winedrinking-america-today

Monitoring Vanilla Extract Quality by Spectrophotometric Technique

determination of vanillin by spectrophotometric technique beans
Monitoring the quality of vanilla extract is necessary for maintaining product reputation. Image Source: Flickr user Cooks Vanilla

Fall is finally here and pumpkin spiced lattes, Halloween decorations, and caramel apple scented candles are making their way into retail shops around the country. For me, fall is the time for baking and filling my home with the sweet smells of freshly baked pies or breads. Local supermarkets are ramping up their baking aisles with the quality ingredients consumers seek for all their fall baking needs and I am stocking up now as sales on these goods arise.

Much to my despair, after taking inventory in my pantry I realized that my vanilla extract had run dry after last year’s bake-a-thon. This ingredient is a must in many of my most prized family recipes, so shopping for a quality extract is a top priority of mine. However, if you want the “real” stuff you will have to pay for it; pure vanilla extract prices have skyrocketed over the past several years due to a shortage of vanilla bean product on the market. This labor intensive crop already has a high market value, but the effects of the shortage are now causing prices to peak at more than $600 a kilo and consumers are seeing this inflation first hand1. As a result, we are now witnessing an increase in imitation vanilla products. But despite the rapid rise in cost, consumers like myself are still seeking out high-quality vanilla extracts and are willing to pay a higher price for improved flavor.

Current industry regulations fall short on monitoring the quality and purity of vanilla extract, but new advancements in instrumental analysis are showing promise for better methods of quality control, helping manufacturers produce extracts worthy of their high prices. Monitoring vanilla extract quality using spectrophotometric instrumentation is essential to ensuring only the highest quality are released into the marketplace.

Regulations and Variations in Vanilla Extracts

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does have regulations in place that govern the production of vanilla extracts. However, the current evaluation methods do not account for the many variables that affect taste and quality. Currently, the FDA only requires two or more units of vanilla beans per gallon in a minimum of 35% alcohol to 65% water mixture for a product to be labeled as pure vanilla extract”2. Within this formulation, “pure” vanilla extracts may also contain various stabilizers, sugars, corn syrups, and/or caramel color additives to enhance the flavor, aroma, and visual appeal of the product. However, these additives can also affect both quality and taste. Because the FDA does not require the percentage of additives to be listed on the product label, consumers are unaware of what exactly they are buying.

There are also many variations in the way vanilla extract is produced. Extraction techniques and processes, as well as the grade of the vanilla beans themselves, all play a significant role in determining flavor and quality. Advanced instrumentation is crucial for developing the highest quality product and meeting the expectations of discerning customers. Understanding various processing techniques and analytical applications can increase both the value and appeal of vanilla extracts.

determination of vanillin by spectrophotometric technique extraction
Variations in extraction and processing techniques affect the quality and flavor or vanilla extract and must be carefully monitored throughout production. Image Source: Flickr user Brian Boucheron

Spectrophotometric Applications For Quality Control

Spectrophotometric analysis can be used to set parameters for vanilla extract quality and can directly affect the economic value of the product. Spectrophotometers offer an objective method of evaluation for the vanilla processing industry and are able to detect adulteration, monitor quality, and assist in product grading and inspection.

Color in particular can be an important indicator of product quality and has a significant impact on both consumer use and perception. Off-colored product can suggest improper processing and unpalatable flavor, for example. It can also impart an undesirable hue on the food items being produced, rendering it unusable. As such, spectrophotometeric color measurement is essential to ensuring vanilla extracts conform to your standards.

Spectrophotometers provide the most accurate and precise color analysis method available, allowing manufacturers to gather the vital data necessary to monitor product quality throughout the manufacturing process. Out-of-spec product can be identified immediately, action can be taken to identify the source of the problem, and corrective measures can be implemented swiftly to minimize downtime. This is vital to ensuring that only the highest quality products enter the marketplace while optimizing efficiency. As supply and demand continue to drive competition and price and more stringent measures become necessary to promote brand name excellence and consumer trust, spectrophotometers are essential to ensuring products meet consumer expectations of flavor, appearance, and performance.

determination of vanillin by spectrophotometric technique liquid
Translucent liquids require specific instrumentation and techniques for successful color measurement. Image Source: Flickr user Brian Boucheron

Liquid Color Measurement

Liquid ingredients like vanilla extract are translucent in appearance and require specific instrumentation and techniques for successful color measurement. Although translucent liquids allow light to pass through, the color saturation of the sample will diffuse the light at different levels. Both reflectance and transmittance measurement methods can work well depending on the translucency of the sample. If a sample exhibits a higher rate of transparency, transmittance methods are often recommended. Less transparent samples are best measured with a reflectance method of analysis that uses a directional 45°/0° geometry, although is also possible to use diffuse d/8° sphere geometry as well. Simple tests can be performed to determine the translucency of a sample, which can help you select the best method of analysis.

HunterLab Quality

HunterLab has been a pioneer in color measurement instrumentation for over 60 years. Today, leading manufacturers around the world choose HunterLab spectrophotometers to ensure quality and brand-named reputation. We offer a wide variety of tools to meet industry regulations and quality control standards, helping our customers create the highest quality products. Contact us for more information about HunterLab spectrophotometers and let us help you find the right tools for your color measurement needs.

  1. “Vanilla Extract – An Insider’s View”, April 17, 2010, http://www.vanillaqueen.com/vanilla-extract-an-insiders-view/
  2. “CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21”, April 1, 2016, https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=169.176

Spectral Technology Improves Quality in Concrete Color Pigments

concrete color pigments bridge
Concrete is a common material used in many building structures. New options in color choices are expanding design options and increasing the popularity of concrete among consumers. Image Source: Flickr user Joey Carino

Summer is my favorite time of year to explore the beautiful area in which I live. Portland, Oregon is known as a “weird” little city that boasts eccentric doughnut shops, a unicycle riding bagpipe player, as well as architecturally beautiful buildings, bridges, and of course the breathtaking views of rivers and mountains that adorn our cityscape. Often referred to as Bridgetown or Bridge City owing to the bridges crossing the Willamette and Columbia rivers, many visitors stop to admire the intricate shapes, colors, and designs of these structures that connect our downtown area together.

Concrete is a major building material used in our city since it can be formed into nearly any shape, size, or color. Structurally sound and easily sourced, this material is popular in the architectural design features found in Portland and many other cities around the country. New technology in concrete color pigments offers even more versatility in this material by creating a wider range of color options to improve building design elements and features.

New options in concrete color pigments add visual and aesthetic appeal to many building projects, both commercially and residentially, which in turn is creating an industry that is growing at a steady pace. From building facades to stamped concrete patios, new options in colors are making concrete the preferred choice among many consumers today. As manufacturers work to meet consumer demands for quality and color options, top production facilities rely on advanced spectral analysis for quality control. While pigment color measurement does present challenges when it comes to consistency and repeatability, choosing the right instrumentation can alleviate common problems associated with powdered pigment measurement and provide the most accurate data in color measurement.

stamped concrete color pigments
New color options in concrete pigments are developing a larger market for commercial sales and consumers are flocking to the new products offered. Image Source: Flickr’ user Tim Seay

Concrete Color and Assessment

Concrete is often thought of as a cold but practical material used for sidewalks or garage floors, where functionality and cost outweigh visual appeal. However, “the expanding interest in decorative concrete is starting to challenge this concept” as new, customizable concrete color palettes have emerged, expanding aesthetic appeal and usability.1 There are many variations and options in concrete development that affect the final product, so monitoring base cement color, additives, and color changes throughout production are essential for ensuring precise color matching and consistency. 

Before concrete color pigments are added, it is important to measure the cement color itself to set a base for color formulation. Cement colors can vary in shade and consistency, so most manufacturers prefer a white cement base for brighter and more vibrant color outcomes. Spectrophotometers can measure a degree of whiteness by assigning a color value to the sample. Pure white only reflects color, so other elements that are present in the sample are represented by a separate color value and quantified accordingly. This can be particularly useful for monitoring darker cement bases, such as gray, where iron and other impurities can greatly affect final color outcomes.

Spectrophotometers provide a highly useful tool in concrete color development and offer the ability to quantify color data and store this information for formulation and repeatability. Because there are many factors that can alter color throughout processing, base cement color is only the starting point for color formulation. Additives like water and aggregates can also induce color changes and must be carefully monitored throughout production, but continual assessment and data can provide the information needed to make changes throughout production. Setting color tolerances and identifying variations throughout production can achieve desired color outcomes and batch-to-batch consistency effortlessly.

concrete color pigments powdered
Powdered pigments can create many challenges in color measurement, but using the right instrumentation can solve many of these problems. Image Source: Flickr’ user Stefan H

Powdered Pigment Measurement

Pigments are the most important ingredients when it comes to the color development and formulation of colored concrete products. Though limited by their ability to change color without altering the chemical reaction processes needed for stability, new options in pigment color choices have expanded this market drastically.2 Mixing pigments is often required to create customized colors and involves loading pigments at various rates to develop a specific shade. Instrumental analysis is necessary for monitoring and quantifying changes throughout this process to simplify color matching and develop quality control standards.

Pigment powders present several challenges throughout the color measurement process due to the textured, non-uniform characteristics of this product.  These pigments are particulate in form and can vary in shape and size. Because color is measured by the wavelength of light reflected or absorbed, sample presentation plays an important role in the accuracy of the measurement. Powdered samples are particularly susceptible to light trapping, shadowing, and ambient light interference, which can create inconsistencies in color measurement data. Therefore, samples must be carefully prepared and “measured through the side of a clear glass sample cell in order to be effectively made into a solid.” By using the same preparation and measurement techniques each time a sample is analyzed, variations can be limited to ensure batch-to-batch consistency.

Sample averaging is a valuable method used to ensure that texture and size variations do not interfere with final color outcomes. Depending on the shape and size of the loose powder, irregularities can cause shadowing and variations in color data. A single sample reading is often misleading, but multiple readings of the same sample can be used to average color data for more precise color measurements.

The HunterLab Difference

HunterLab spectrophotometers offer the versatility needed to address the challenges of concrete color pigment analysis. We provide innovative color measurement instrumentation and have worked with leading building material experts to engineer spectrophotometric technology that meets the needs of the industry. Not only do our design elements accommodate the many variations in pigment sample shape and size, but we also provided the highest level of support to ensure you get the most out of your color measurement instrumentation. Contact us to learn more about our innovative products and world-class customer support services.

  1. “The Science of Color in Concrete”, December 1, 2015, http://www.forconstructionpros.com/concrete/decorative/article/12135916/the-science-of-color-in-concrete
  2. ”Standard Specification for Pigments for Integrally Colored Concrete”, 1996-2016, https://www.astm.org/Standards/C979.htm

Using Spectrophotometers to Develop Color Quality in Composite Deck Material

color quality in composite deck material
Composite deck material is growing in popularity with improved color retention and durability, making the competition in this market grow. Image Source: Flickr’ Fiberon

Over 15 years ago, my husband and I installed a beautiful cedar deck. That first year it looked perfect; we painstakingly added several coats of stain to protect the surface and bring out the natural wood grains and colors. However, over the years this process had to be repeated again and again, with the tedious effort of removing old stain and sanding the surface clean to start fresh. Now, a decade and a half later, despite all our hard labor, the years have taken their toll and it is time for a replacement. These days, I am much more savvy on the costs of staining, stripping and sanding, not to mention the hours of time that maintenance of real wood consumes. So this time around we are strongly considering composite decking to reduce to labor and cost later on down the road..

Composite decking has come a long way over the past several decades. In the early days of production, color quality in composite deck material was limited and did not hold up well to the natural elements. Fading and degradation were often apparent, diminishing the popularity of these building materials. But despite these initial challenges, the sustainability of composite decking technology still held promise for the future and new industry competition quickly stepped up to the plate. These manufacturers found ways to improve the plastic composite material by using advanced instrumentation to monitor color and quality throughout the production process. Today, modern composite deck companies offer a variety of products with the look and feel of their real wood alternatives. As a result, sales of composite materials have skyrocketed, with last years sales topping the $1 billion mark1. With sales continuing to grow, manufactures are looking for new ways to improve the color stability and quality of their building materials in order to stay competitive in this expanding industry.

color quality in composite deck material close-up
Developing color tolerances is necessary for color quality and repeatability. Advance color measurement instrumentation simplifies this process. Image Source: Flickr’ user Russ Koetz

The Benefits of Color Technology in Production

Composite decking materials are typically formed using a polymer extrusion process. During this process, materials are melted and extruded into a polymeric matrix while fibers and other additives are mixed in. Pigments, stabilizers, UV absorbers, processing aids and lubricants, bactericides, and other materials are commonly used to enhance the physical and/or chemical properties of the composite material2. Throughout these processes, color changes must be carefully monitored using spectral technology to provide critical data and feedback.

Spectrophotometers quantify the color and UV absorbency of extruded composite decking material by assigning a numerical value to each sample and storing this data for repeatability. By establishing standardized test methods, these processes can be simplified. High-volume manufacturing of extruded plastic materials requires raw materials to be melted and formed into a continuous profile which requires constant analysis. Today’s advanced spectrophotometers are designed to offer in-line process monitoring and evaluate specific color changes throughout production in order to create a set of standardized colors that can be repeated from batch to batch. With precise light source specifications and geometric principles, a quantitative matching system can be used to categorize these colors. A color tolerance system can then be applied to specific samples for repeatability and to meet customer needs. By developing a color tolerance, the margin for error is drastically reduced and manufacturers are able to make any necessary process changes as soon as out-of-spec color variation is detected.

color quality in composite deck material boards
Monitoring UV protection is necessary for improving color stability and quality in composite deck materials. Image Source: Flickr’ user Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity

Monitoring UV Protection

Color fading and material degradation are common problems associated with outdoor plastic materials. Research on UV-based polymer degradation has allowed manufacturers to closely monitor changes in the light spectrum and assess how variations in polymer formulations can best withstands the affects of nature. Spectrophotometers can be used to evaluate the efficacy of these new formulations and effects of UV exposure by monitoring color changes due to UV light, as well as exposure to other environmental stressors. These processes help in the development of materials that are both stronger and retain color more effectively.

HunterLab Solutions for Extruded Plastic

The color quality in composite deck material production demands tight tolerances and efficient use of materials. The ability to maintain a high level of color quality control is crucial for reducing wasted material and avoiding line shutdown and/or extensive operator involvement. HunterLab understands these challenges and provides a complete line of products for monitoring color quality and improving efficiency. HunterLab spectrophotometers have been used extensively in the plastics industry for over 60 years. Today, we specialize in helping the world’s plastics producers consistently manage the color of their products to meet quality standards. For more information on extruded plastic color measurement, contact HunterLab today.

  1. “All About Composite Decking”, 2017, https://www.thisoldhouse.com/ideas/all-about-composite-decking
  2. “Composite building material and method for making composite building material”, 2008, http://www.google.ch/patents/US20080193740

Monitoring Color Standards for Pharmaceutical Grade Starch with Spectral Technology

color standards for pharmaceutical grade starch granules
Pharmaceutical grade starch is a commonly used excipient in the formulation of medications. Image Source: Flickr user CIAT

American consumers are more aware than ever when it comes to the ingredients we put into our bodies. Gluten free, peanut free, dairy free, etc.; the list goes on and on.  While food packaging clearly labels these ingredients, many consumers overlook these additives in the drugs and medications they take each day. However, the ingredients found in today’s pharmaceuticals are also subject to strict regulations to ensure safety and quality and require accurate analysis to meet industry standards.

Food grade additives are a commonly found in many of the drugs and medications we use on a regular basis. For example, pharmaceutical grade talc and/or starch are often used to create a base for active ingredients and these fillers comprise a large percentage of the product we ingest. Product color and purity are a major concern when it comes to these additives and color standards for pharmaceutical grade starch and talc are necessary to achieve desired results. Color measurement instrumentation is an important tool when it comes to quality control. Spectral analysis provides the information needed to meet industry standards and monitor color changes in formulations.

color standards for pharmaceutical grade starch sources
Pharmaceutical grade starch is an abundant natural resource found around the world. Monitoring quality and color play an important role in drug formulation and consistency. Image Source: Flickr user CIAT

Measuring Pharmaceutical Starch Quality

Pharmaceutical grade starch is a popular ingredient for use as both a binding agent in hard tablets as well as disintegrating agent in orodispersible formulations. An influx of pharmaceutical grade starch production is inundating the industry as reliable filler for drug use in today’s market. This product is sourced from around the globe and value can vary depending on production quality. One indication of superior quality is in the white appearance of starch, making it a preferred choice of filler for use in color-coded medications where specific color matching is necessary. Though white is classified into one color category, there are many variations within that range. Pure white, or extra-white is the most desirable and marketed as the highest quality product. Measuring pure white relies on spectrophotometric technology, which can differentiate even the slightest variations in hue.

Spectrophotometers measure color value to determine purity by the degree of whiteness. Pure white can be quantified numerically depending on the color scale being used. This means that if there are any impurities in the starch, they will affect its color and be measured as a different color value. color scale data can then be stored and used to develop a pass/fail tolerance.  

The ability to monitor changes in color values allows pharmaceutical companies to create color standards for pharmaceutical grade starch and select only the highest quality products for drug formulation. Monitoring color standards by degree of whiteness is an efficient and effective method for evaluating pharmaceutical grade starch and ensuring color quality in product formulations.

color standards for pharmaceutical grade starch blending blue
Spectrophotometers closely monitor powder composition to provide quantitative data in color formulizations. Image Source: Flickr’ user shadphotos

Monitoring Color Changes in Formulation

Pharmaceutical grade starch is an abundantly available natural resource and preferred excipient for drug delivery systems in pharmaceutical solid dosage forms1. It is commonly used as a filler, binder, or coating in the drug manufacturing industry. Both the physical properties and white coloring of pharmaceutical grade starch make it a desirable choice in color formulations, where color consistency is of upmost importance. There are several factors to consider when blending a powdered excipient like starch with an API (active pharmaceutical ingredient). Spectrophotometers are required to closely monitor the powder composition and provide a quantitative analysis of the sample. This information can then be stored with advanced software capabilities and provide the data needed to achieve color consistency and repeatability from batch-to-batch.

While excipients are a necessary part of drug formulations, the structure and powder-like quality of pharmaceutical grade starch can create many challenges when evaluating whiteness and/or monitoring changes in color formulations. Loose powders present various difficulties in color analysis due to their non-uniform texture. Starch powder consists of many small particles that are highly susceptible to light trapping, shadowing, and ambient light interference, which can lead in inconsistent color measurement results2. Therefore, samples must be carefully prepared and measured. The UltraScan Vis offers an optional reflectance shelf that can mounts so that powder filled cups or pressed plaques can be presented at the reflectance port

Choosing the Right Instrumentation

Spectrophotometric analysis is ideal for monitoring color standards in pharmaceutical grade starch. These tools offer a non-destructive evaluation of color and can be utilized for on-line measurements where continual monitoring of color is necessary to maintain consistency. Once formulations are pressed into plaque form, spectrophotometric instrumentation can be used to measure these samples using specific viewing angles and geometric principles to obtain the most accurate and reliable information.

HunterLab spectrophotometers have been created to meet the specific needs of the pharmaceutical industry. Our spectrophotometers provide a low-cost alternative to other methods for color standard analysis and monitoring the blending and compression of pharmaceutical powders and plaques. Our staff is highly knowledgeable in the color measurement of pharmaceutical products and we back our products with unsurpassed customer support. Contact HunterLab to learn more about our options in pharmaceutical color measurement instrumentation.

  1. “From native to multifunctional starch-based excipients designed for direct compression formulation”, June 3, 2013, http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/star.201200297/full
  2. “Measuring Loose Powder with with UltraScan® VIS, https://www.hunterlab.com/mm-5039-measuring-loose-powder-with-ultrascan-vis.pdf

Addressing the Challenges of Viscosity and Color Value Measurement in Maple Syrup

viscosity and color measurement methods for maple syrup
Maple syrups can vary in color from batch to batch. Maintaining color quality and consistency is crucial for improving marketability in this competitive industry. Image Source: Flickr user David Black

Maple syrup is a hot commodity in our household…my kids seem to put in on nearly everything. That is why our pantry is stocked with a warehouse-sized container to ensure we never run out. However, not all maple syrups are created equal. Unfortunately, we learned this the hard way when one morning my family woke up to piping hot stack of pancakes only to realize that our syrup supply had been depleted. After a desperate plea, my husband ran to the store only to return with a smaller bottle of the same name brand we preferred; yet it had the appearance and consistency of dirty water. My children refused to eat it saying it “just didn’t look right”.

I know that they say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but research shows that taste perception and visual appearance go hand in hand.1  In fact, color appearance is the first thing consumers use when choosing a product, so maybe there is more truth to the old adage of “love at first sight”. Truth be told, the less appealing muddy water looking concoction from the smaller store bought bottle really didn’t taste that different, but many consumers pass on foods and beverages simply because they “don’t look right”.

Visual preference is actually an internal warning system our body and minds use to protect us from harmful foods, so it is no wonder our purchasing choices are so dependent on visual appeal. That is why manufacturers invest so much time and energy to ensure that colors stay consistent throughout production and from batch to batch. Of course, food products vary greatly in appearance and require different methods for accurate color analysis.

grading viscosity and color measurement methods for maple syrup
New maple color grading regulations require instrumental analysis for color quality monitoring. Image Source: Flickr user Dany Johnson

Challenges in Maple Syrup Color Assessment

Apparently, my family is not alone in our obsession of this sweet sticky goodness that is derived from the maple tree. Millions of gallons of maple syrup are produced annually in North America and supply the worldwide demand for this product.2  Though confined to North American production, the maple syrup industry is highly competitive with many various brands on the market today. This makes color quality monitoring and instrumental analysis more important than ever.

Referring back to my personal experience above, one may wonder how the same name brand syrup could vary so greatly in appearance and texture. This is a common problem in mass produced food products, where maintaining consistency is crucial to product quality and name brand recognition. In maple syrup production, this can be exceptionally challenging due to the many factors that arise throughout production.

Since maple syrups originate from the sap of the maple tree and can vary is sugar content, color also varies depending on how these caramelize during production. That is why it is important to monitor color quality throughout this process to ensure accurate and consistent color outcomes. Spectrophotometers with process automation capabilities allow for in-line process monitoring throughout each stage of production and alert potential color errors. This saves both time and resources, allowing production facilities to make changes in real time and assess color errors at the source.

pancake viscosity and color measurement methods for maple syrup
When choosing color measurement instrumentation, it is important to choose a product that is adaptable to various sample types and offers a high level of accuracy. Image Source: Flickr user Laurence

Addressing the Challenges of Viscosity in Sample Measurement

Final product color assessment is also essential to maintaining product quality and consistency. With maple syrup production, caramelization is not the only factor that affects the color outcome. Viscosity also interferes with color perception and can create challenges in accurate sample measurement. Since maple syrup often varies in viscosity, it is important to choose a color measurement tool that addresses these concerns.

UV/VIS spectrophotometers are ideal for measuring both liquid and solid color samples. “With a large photometric range…sample dilution is not required for highly absorbing samples such as maple syrup.”3 Using the proper liquid sample holder and developing an average sample reading is a priority when measuring high viscosity sticky substances. HunterLab spectrophotometers offer this and the ability to adapt to larger surface area measurements, making them a versatile tools for the maple syrup industry.

The HunterLab Difference

HunterLab is a leader in color technology and spectrophotometric instrumentation. With over 6o years of experience in color measurement, we have the foundation and knowledge to address any color measurement need or challenge. We pride ourselves on our customer relations and work hard to form partnerships with our clients in order to develop the highest quality products available. Contact us to find out why top industry leaders choose HunterLab for all their color measurement needs.

  1. “What You See is What You Taste”, April 12. 2013, http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2013/04/12/what-you-see-is-what-you-taste-says-scientist/
  2. “Top Regions Producers of Maple Syrup”, 2012, https://www.maplesyrupworld.com/pages/Top-Regions-Producers-of-Maple-Syrup.html
  3. “Maple Syrup Color Analysis Using UV/VIS Spectrophotometry”, November 24, 2015, http://www.americanlaboratory.com/914-Application-Notes/180188-Maple-Syrup-Color-Analysis-Using-UV-VIS-Spectrophotometry/

New Variations in Hard Apple Cider Color Create Competition for Craft Beers

glass of hard apple cider color
Microbreweries are expanding their beverage selections by offering a more colorful assortment of hard ciders to increase consumer choice. Image Source: Flickr’ user Brent Hofacker

Microbreweries are all the rage these days with franchises opening up in quaint little towns across the country. Here in the Pacific NW, you will see crowds of people swarming to grab a quick bite to eat and a cold refreshment on their way home from work or with a group of friends on weekends. These new little off-the-wall establishments have taken the place of local watering holes by offering a classy way to unwind at the end of the day. So why this sudden increase of obsession in microbrew venues?

As the saying goes, “variety is the spice of life” and to pique the interest of the masses, new trends in adult beverages have found creative ways to make this a reality. What differentiates the bar scene from the beer and wine bistro atmosphere is the absence of hard alcohol. While this encourages a more casual and laid back drinker, many craft breweries have been limited to a simple variety of beers alone. I’m a beer lover myself, and while the urban-rustic vibe may be enticing, many of my girlfriends and even their ‘gluten free’ counterparts would turn their noses up at those hoppy beer choices. It didn’t take microbreweries long to catch on too. By incorporating a new line of hard ciders; they found ways to appease the masses and offer a more colorful assortment of adult beverages.

hard apple cider color varieties
Hard apple ciders are available in a variety of color and flavor choices. This new adult beverage assortment has now taken the place of many alternative cocktail options to appease a wider variety of consumers. Image Source: Flickr’ user CampusCircleMedia

Additional Color Choices Attract New Consumers

Color plays a significant role in consumer choice, and hard apple cider color is no exception. In fact, this fruit-based refreshment offers more flexibility in color choices than both beer and wine combined. Since the base color in hard apple cider is the starting point for many new flavors and color options, thanks to its light color and crisp fresh taste, adding other ingredients to this formula is a simple and easy way to increase the variety of adult cider options.

Hard apple cider color alone is the base of many name brand hard cider beer labels. Popular choices such as “Gold Apple Hard Cider” by Strongbow brewing company or Woodchuck Brewing’s signature craft flavor “Woodchuck Amber”1 use color terminology in their labels to encourage visual preference and appeal. Of course, visualization through brand name alone is not enough to solidify color acceptance and recognition. Actual beverage color itself is what inevitably entices consumers and provides the basis for taste perception. In fact, taste perception and color are so strongly related that many leading beverage producers rely on instrumental analysis of color to ensure brand name success.

bottled hard apple cider color
Hard apple cider color plays a significant role in consumer appeal and many industry leaders are even using color imagery in their brand name labeling to attract more buyers. Image Source: Flickr’ user Jeff Paulino

Analysis of Hard Apple Cider Color

Hard apple cider color varies dramatically due to a variety of changes that occur throughout processing. From the color and variety of apples used as raw ingredients to the color changes caused throughout fermentation and processing, monitoring color quality through production is essential for creating a favorable color outcome.

Competitive hard cider corporations understand that quality ingredients are the first step in producing marketable beverages. Raw ingredients are carefully inspected and analyzed for color quality using advanced spectral technologies. Spectrophotometers are a preferred choice in color analysis due to their high level of accuracy and ease of use. The simplicity of design allows for quick and reliable data measurement, which can be stored and used to develop a color standard for quality ingredients. Many spectrophotometers also offer the versatility to measure changes throughout production, especially as consistency and clarity shift throughout the fermentation process. Additives are another way cider manufacturers alter the color or prevent darkening2. Therefore, the color must be carefully monitored during throughout steps to ensure consistency and desired results.

The Best Methods for Beverage Color Measurement

Spectrophotometers are a preferred tool for the color assessment of commercial beverages. As hard apple cider production continues to increase and the market grows, color assessment becomes more important than ever for cultivating consumer acceptance. Choosing the right instrumentation and knowing how to use it it’s the first step toward improving product quality and color consistency.

Like many beverages, hard ciders are produced in a wide array of colors and consistencies. From transparent to more translucent and/or cloudy in appearance, each sample requires different instrumentation and measurement techniques based upon these various attributes.

  • Transparent Liquids—Beverages with very low or zero solid content allow light to pass through with minimal or no interference. Without reflection of light, these samples can only be measured accurately with transmission instrumentation.
  • Translucent Liquids—Liquids with medium solid content diffuse light as it passes through the sample. Using both reflective and transmittance measurement modes is appropriate depending on the translucency of the sample. Defining the appropriate path length depends on consumer perception, which can be determined by the thickness of the sample and where light enters and exits.

At HunterLab, we specialize in the color measurement of liquid samples. That is why many leading beverage companies have come to trust our instrumentation for all their color measurement needs. We offer the support, knowledge, and experience needed to help you stay competitive in the growing market of crafted hard ciders. To learn more about our products and what we have to offer, contact us today.

  1. “Top 10 Best Hard Apple Cider Beer Brands Better Than Craft Beers”, http://www.blakeshardcider.com/best-hard-cider-brands/?age-verified=59e7e135fa
  2. “ How to make cider – College of Agriculture and Natural Resources”, 2002, https://www.canr.msu.edu/productcenter/uploads/files/makecider.pdf

Using a Spectrophotometer to Improve Color Quality and Performance of Offset Inks

ink color measurement
Offset ink analysis is essential for top quality products and performance in today’s high-speed production printing industry. Image Source: Flickr’ user Remy CARTERET

Today’s printing industry is booming and production rates are reaching record level speeds as offset printers race to match supply with demand. Much like the benefits of high-octane fuel in a fast little sports car, press operators rely on high-performance ink quality to reach top speeds and maintain customer satisfaction.

Instrumental analysis is an important element in laboratory ink production and necessary for predicting various performance outcomes. Variables such as high-level press speeds and the many variations in substrates used in today’s commercial labels and packaging all create challenges in offset ink performance. According to Ink World Magazine, “assessing printing characteristics is critical to determining how ink is likely to perform, and having standard equipment is essential. Without these instruments or procedures, an ink company would have a difficult time ensuring its products perform on press. In addition, an excellent ink laboratory can help when troubleshooting is required”1. Developing standards and procedures for ink specifications and quality starts with advanced instrumentation. Spectrophotometers offer a variety of analytical options to ensure accurate color matching and consistency. One small yet effective tool can accomplish a variety of tasks and is a must for any ink laboratory.

spectrophotometer offset ink
Analysis of ink concentration levels effects production quality and performance and is necessary for maintaining quality control. Image Source: Flickr’ user Remy CARTERET

Monitoring Color Quality

Using a spectrophotometer to develop a color quality system is one of the simplest ways to ensure better ink performance. Many variables can affect color perception and alter the outcome of ink color and appearance. Spectral analysis measures even the slightest variations in color that go undetected by the human eye. This reduces errors and guarantees color matches. Spectrophotometers are also able to record and store data as a reference to ensure consistency across batches. From ink distribution facilities, to in house ink laboratory systems, this data saves valuable time and resources.  The ability to quantify this information for recurrent use minimizes errors and allows for simple adjustments to improve performance and increase product yield.

Changes in lighting conditions can also alter color perception, leading to inconsistencies in ink color formulation. Advanced instrumentation provides an isolated light source to ensure accurate measurements. These measurements can then be used to monitor various performance changes throughout processing and bring attention to any possible contamination, allowing for changes to be made if necessary.  Determination of performance results and ink formulation changes can all be regulated and modified with effective color quality control.

black ink using a spectrophotometer to find concentration
Variations in offset inks can create challenges in performance. Spectral technology helps to monitor these changes for consistency, quality, and repeatability. Image Source: Flickr’ user Remy CARTERET

Specialized Ink Analysis

Offset inks are required for use in a variety of industrial applications and vary based on specific industry needs. From food production to chemical formulations, external variables often affect ink performance and appearance. Understanding these changes and how to monitor these variables is necessary for improved ink production and quality.

Monitoring color strength relies on spectrophotometric technology to compare standardized colors. Bleach or tint testing applications utilize this technology to monitor pigmentation dispersion and ensure accurate color matching results. Since the human eye alone is subject to variations in perception, this process is necessary for reducing costly errors and other challenges is  color matching. Quality ink formulations depend on advanced spectrophotometric data to guarantee repeatability and color quality.

Manufacturers pay top dollar for products that are reliable and perform in the ways intended. Therefore, the use of advanced instrumentation in ink production laboratories is essential for developing high quality ink products.

The Right Instrumentation With the Support You Need

Setting up an ink analysis system is not confined to laboratory ink facilities alone. Ink technicians, production operators, and final quality inspectors can all benefit from the use of instrumental analysis. With materials and printing conditional continually changing, repeated analysis and changes are required to effectively utilize materials and maintain quality. A spectrophotometer is a versatile tool that offers simple and effective analysis throughout all stages of offset ink production and printing. However, not all spectrophotometers are created equal.

At HunterLab we strive to develop color measurement tools that are specifically designed to address industry needs. By working closely with industry leaders, we have developed spectrophotometers that are designed to address the challenges that arise in an ever changing and developing market. Not only do we create our tools with this in mind, but we also offer the support needed to utilize our instrumentation to its full potential. Making an investment in advanced instrumentation can save both time and money and is an economical choice in this fast-paced and highly competitive market. To learn more about HunterLab spectrophotometers and their advantages in offset printing, contact us today.

Spectrophotometers for Monitoring Shelf Life of Hamburger Meat Improves Marketability

monitoring shelf life of hamburger meat cooked patty
Quality hamburgers start with fresh ground beef, which many consumers measure by the color quality of the raw meat. Image Source: Flickr’ user bour3

Hamburgers are the All-American food and nothing screams summer like the smell of sizzling ground beef on a backyard grill. This summertime tradition has been around for ages and hamburger was once the staple food in the American household. I remember when I was growing up, my mom put hamburger in everything. From the ever-popular varieties of family casseroles to the excitement of the huge metal mixing bowl filled to the brim with ground beef, just waiting for the influx of guest to arrive. Old friends of mine still refer to my mom’s ‘famous hamburgers’ that she would meticulously mix by hand and form into the perfect patty.

While my mom adored her ground beef, she was also quite picky about the quality of meat she chose. We always bought our hamburger meat fresh from the butcher and my mom would carefully inspect the color before purchasing. “Always choose the freshest meat for the best burgers”, she would say, as the butcher would hold up a bright pink handful in his gloved hands. As an adult, I now consider myself somewhat of a connoisseur of quality hamburgers and have developed some new favorite recipes that challenge even the best burger joints in town.

monitoring shelf life of hamburger meat raw
Myoglobin is the protein found in ground beef that gives it its red coloring and is recognized as a sign of meat quality and freshness. Image Source: Flickr’ user Artizone

Fresh Ground Beef Color

If you were to walk up to the meat counter at your local supermarket, you would expect to see a fresh assortment of bright red meats. Colors of brown or gray might indicate to spoilage or that the meat has been sitting on the shelf a bit too long. But where do we get the notion that color relates to these traits? Color perception is actually an instinctual quality built into our DNA that protects our bodies from consuming potentially dangerous foods1. Like the bright colors of the poison dart frog that warns its prey not to eat, discolored meat products work the same within the internal safety coding systems of our brain.

We expect bright red coloring when it comes to ground beef, so monitoring the source of color is an important step in the quality control of meat products. Myoglobin is the protein found in ground beef that produces this bright red color we’ve come to expect2. This protein does not occur from blood circulating through the meat, but it is actually present in the muscle itself, fixated within the tissues. Spectrophotometers measure myoglobin using a color scale that quantifies even the slightest variation in red coloring. This information then provides important data, which can be used to predict color quality and shelf life expectancy in ground beef.

Spectrophotometers are a valuable tool for monitoring shelf life of hamburger meat during processing as well as after packaging. Color measurement instrumentation offers the versatility needed for continuous monitoring and quantification of changes that occur in ground beef color, which affect product quality and profit. The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) receives numerous calls on a daily basis from consumers concerned about the color of meat products. In fact, “nearly 15% of retail beef is discounted in price due to surface discoloration, which corresponds to annual revenue losses of $1 billion”3. That is why many major beef producers rely on state-of-the-art color technology to consistently monitor changes that occur in muscle foods after slaughter. Color stability greatly influences marketability making the knowledge of myoglobin chemistry and color measurement technology necessary for economic stability within this industry.

monitoring shelf life of hamburger meat frozen
Color stability of frozen hamburger meat is an indication of quality and shows that beef was processed and packaged at the peak of freshness. Image Source: Flickr’ user stu_spivack

Monitoring Frozen Ground Beef Quality

While my mother always relied on butcher fresh ground beef, I must admit that I have grown accustomed to stocking my freezer with the frozen tube style hamburger patties that can be ready on a moments notice. Since many our summertime BBQs are impromptu and consist of my teenage boys and a handful of their friends, quality and convenience (plus a large number of patties to accommodate the appetite of growing boys) are my main priority. However, that does not mean that I am willing to skimp on quality.

Not all frozen hamburger patties are created equal and once again, color is a strong indicator of quality in frozen meats. Color stability can also diminish in sub zero temperatures, though at a much slower rate. Therefore it is important that meat is packaged and frozen at the peak of freshness to preserve color quality. Since changes in meat color involve the concentration of myoglobin and its response to oxidization, it is important to monitor color throughout production as effects on color can vary throughout processing, packaging, and storage. These changes are highly sensitive and require objective color assessment and continuous monitoring to ensure that optimal product color is maintained.

Spectrophotometers effectively measure color by emulating human eye functioning while controlling the viewing angle and light source. Isolating these variables reduces errors in perception and enables consistent quantification of color. Continual color assessment monitors real-time changes to help avoid loss of quality and can alert producers to possible product contamination.

The Right Choice in Color Measurement

Whether fresh or processed, refrigerated or frozen, ground beef requires objective color analysis to ensure that guidelines are followed and quality is guaranteed. HunterLab is a leading name is spectrophotometric technology and was the first to receive USDA approval for the evaluation of food color.

Major beef producers depend on HunterLab instrumentation to meet their color analysis needs. From large production plant monitoring to research and testing methods for creating better products, HunterLab spectrophotometers are specifically designed for use in the agricultural and meat production industries. Choices in spectrophotometers can vary, but in order to ensure quality and accurate data for meat color analysis, beef producers must select reliable technology. HunterLab’s line of color measurement tools and spectrophotometers are designed specifically to meet industry needs. We work closely with leaders in meat science research and are continually developing products to help industries remain competitive. Contact HunterLab today to learn more.

 

Color Measurement in Agriculture Improves Apple Fruit Red Coloring

red apple color measurement in agriculture
Experienced growers have created a foolproof system of developing maximum color appeal without jeopardizing fruit quality. These systems depend on color measurement instrumentation to ensure favorable results. Image Source: Flickr’ user Henry Hemming

Summer is my favorite time of year because it means spending time outdoors in one of my favorite places…the garden. Despite my love of gardening, I am still just a novice and have much to learn about producing a bountiful harvest. Several years ago I added some apple trees to the corner of my yard and after patiently waiting for them to mature, I can now reap the benefits. Unfortunately my crop has yet to compare with the store bought version that is bright in color, yet crisp and juicy. In order to achieve that nice red hue, I must leave my apples on the tree till they nearly drop. Unfortunately that results in fruit is soft and gritty. If I pick them early I can enjoy the fresh juicy flavor, but my eyes just can’t get past that unappealing dull yellowish tone.

Commercial apple growers know that color plays and important role in consumer appeal and strive for that bright red color to entice the buyer. But how do they reach the maximum hue of red without compromising fruit quality? Well many agricultural scientists have spent countless hours perfecting this trick. From experimenting with nitrogen sprays and supplements to new procedures that utilize reflective plastics, the results can vary significantly. That is why many experienced growers utilize color measurement in agriculture and understand how instrumental analysis can improve fruit color and ripeness.

Using Color Analysis to Compare Production Methods

Red is the most preferred color of apple among consumers and outer peel appearance is the main trait used to influence purchases1. Apple peel color varies based on growing conditions and geographical locations and therefore must be closely monitored when comparing various production methods. The most predominant factor that contributes to red pigmentation is both light and temperature, which greatly affect the saturation of color in apple skin. The concentration of red peel color relates directly to anthocyanin production, which depends solely on light intensity and quality. Temperature also affects anthocyanin production and fluctuates, with high temperature reducing concentration and low temperatures increasing these levels2.

fugi apples color measurement in agriculture
Many factors can influence color development and fruit quality. Spectrophotometers provide a systematic approach to improving fruit quality and color. Image Source: Flickr’ user moonjazz

There are several methods used to increase anthocyanin production and improve red color development in red-fruited cultivars. These methods include bagging, plastic film light reflection, fruit thinning, and extensive pruning for improved light penetration. Growers choose each method based on color maturation results to ensure premium crop quality. These results can be monitored using color measurement technology. Spectrophotometers are a common tool used in agricultural sciences due to their durability and ease of use. Processes can be assessed and data can be documented easily as growing conditions are modified and changed. This data can then be used to determine the best methods for optimal color development.

Using Spectrophotometers in Cultivation

Much advancement in spectrophotometric technology has been made to improve fruit cultivation over the past several decades, and new technology continues to influence market competition. Today’s units are designed to withstand the rugged conditions of field use without compromising accuracy. From hand held units to process automation technology, spectrophotometers have become an essential tool for growers around the world.

Each unit is used to measure external color in the NIR (near-infrared region) and provides data about fruit maturity and color development. This method is much more accurate than visual analysis and provides a data system that allows for maximum color maturity without compromising fruit quality. Spectrophotometric analysis is non-destructive, making a preferred system used by grower to improve visual quality without wasted product. By monitoring the ripeness externally, fruit cultivators can develop ideal harvesting times and increase harvest yield.

yellow-red apples color measurement in agriculture
Spectrophotometers use NIR light technology to closely monitor fruit development and quality, ensuring peak maturation and increased marketability. Image Source: Flickr’ Regina Chavez

Spectrophotometers can also be utilized beyond harvesting for quality inspection, online processing, packaging, and shipping to ensure that fruits reach the consumer at the ideal stage of ripeness for increased marketability. This system is also used to monitor premature degradation of fruit using a calculated color maturity scale for optimal fruit quality.

Spectrophotometers Designed for Agricultural Applications

Not all spectrophotometers are created equal. When making an investment in color technology, it is important to choose a product with industry specific design elements. HunterLab is a leading name in spectrophotometric technologies and has numerous product options that have been developed specifically for use in the agricultural industry. We have worked with top agricultural developers to design innovative tools that meet the high demand of this industry. To learn more about HunterLab spectrophotometers and new applications of color measurement in agricultural, contact us today.

  1. “Red Color Development in Apple Fruit”, November 7, 2012, http://articles.extension.org/pages/66371/red-color-development-in-apple-fruit
  2. “Effect of Temperature on Anthocyanin Synthesis and Ethylene Production in the Fruit of Early- and Medium-maturing Apple Cultivars during Ripening Stages”, May, 2003, http://hortsci.ashspublications.org/content/49/12/1510.abstract
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