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Oil and Fat Content Measurement

Measuring Oil & Fat Content Using Time Domain Nuclear Magnetic Resonance

Time Domain Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (TD-NMR) is widely used in a variety of industries to measure the oil, and fat, content in and on a variety of matrices. Thus TD-NMR is used for process and quality control in the food and textile industries; in the latter, oil is used to lubricate the fibres/yarns for their manufacture as well as enhance their properties. It is also used to determine and optimise the value of oil-bearing crops, and determine the amount of fat, oil and grease (commonly known as FOG) removed from wastewater. TD-NMR is commonly used instead of solvent (or Soxhlet) extraction methods which are slow and cumbersome thus restrict throughput.  In contrast, TD-NMR is fast, accurate, solvent-free as well as easy-to-use and safe therefore ideal for non-skilled users who will require minimal training.

Oil and Water Content in Seeds

TD-NMR has been used to measure oil and water in oilseeds for many decades, nevertheless it is worthwhile to be reminded of why it has been so successful. Firstly, it detects all the oil and water in the sample being measured; the sample is measured as is therefore oil does not have to be removed from the matrix and the measurement is not restricted by penetration depth of the harmless radiofrequency radiation. Secondly, the latter means that TD-NMR is not restricted by the sample size whether it be large or small. Finally, calibrations can be created by just a few samples (important for seed breeding research) and are not affected by the diversity of sample composition or the colour; this explains why TD-NMR is the method of choice for sunflower seeds for example.

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Fat, Oil and Grease (FOG) from Wastewater

TD-NMR is ideal for measuring the amount of fat extracted by passing wastewater through a single filter because throughput can be increased considerably compared to automated extraction methods. Importantly TD-NMR is sensitive enough to measure mg quantities (per L of wastewater) and is more accurate and reproducible because there is no sample preparation or complicated procedure for technicians to follow. Finally, the TD-NMR method allows sample automation which is important for any busy laboratory.

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