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Precise Measurement of the Color Concentration in Food Dyes

Inline measuring method with spectroscopic ATR immersion probe

Food colorants can be found in numerous food products and make our dishes visually more attractive as well as tastier. They are often used in beverages, sweets, fruit preparations, dairy products and ice cream. They either compensate processing-related or environmental color changes, intensify naturally occurring colors, or serve to meet consumers´color expectations.

Natural, nature-identical and artificial (synthetic) colorants are distinguished according to their origin. Due to an increasing consumer awareness of a healthy diet, the use of natural food colorants, which are obtained from natural raw materials such as plants, has become considerably more important. However, one challenge when using natural food colorants is the varying concentration of the colorant present in the respective plant. This is influenced in particular by solar radiation or temperatures during the cultivation and harvesting of the raw materials. During the further processing of the isolated dye into color extracts and food coloring, the intensity of the plant dye must therefore be measured and the color value determined.

Instead of a time-consuming sampling and measurement of the dye content in the laboratory, the dye concentration can also be determined directly inline in the process. For this, Hellma recommends the use of a spectroscopic ATR immersion probe. This type of measurement enables precise and efficient determination of the dye content without prior dilution of the sample. A laboratory measurement to confirm the color values determined with the probe is thus only necessary as a final check. With the aid of the Hellma ATR probe, even measurements of highly absorbent liquids are possible.

The benefits of spectroscopic inline color measurements are numerous:

  • Shortening of measurement times
  • Minimizing the risk of errors, since manual sampling is no longer required
  • Optimizing the manufacturing process
  • Long-term savings in material and personnel costs, as intermediate tests using laboratory analytics are no longer necessary


Learn more about our product solution, the measurement process and the benefits of this application.

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