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Wednesday, 09 April 2014 00:00

Research to analyse vinegar authenticity

One of the laboratory tests One of the laboratory tests Fundación Descubre

The technique enables the simultaneous analysis of the properties of vinegar, saving costs in its quality control process

Researchers from the Department of Food Science and Technology of the University of Cordoba, in cooperation with the Andalusian Institute of Agricultural and Fisheries Research and Training (IFAPA) of the Regional Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, in Andalucía, belonging to the Agrifood Campus of International Excellence (ceiA3), have developed a new method to analyse the authenticity of vinegars from the Montilla-Moriles Designation of Origin in real time. The chemical, physical and organoleptic properties will be identified in real time by the innovative technique, reducing the total involved resources and, therefore, saving costs along the certification process.

In the article 'Characterizing and Montilla-Moriles Authenticating PDO Vinegars Using Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIRS) Technology ', published in the journal Sensors, the research team has shown that the technology based on Reflectance Spectroscopy in the Near Infrared (NIRS) can be employed as an effective technique both in quality control of Montilla-Moriles vinegars, and as a way to detect and prevent fraud in the process. Teresa Sánchez, researcher from the University of Córdoba, explains to Fundación Descubre that “We have identified both chemical (i.e: acidity) and organoleptic parameters (such intensity, colour, alcoholic degree), linked to the vinegar quality. That will make possible a more precise products classification according to its origin, category or variety”.

Firstly, Sánchez explained, the researchers gathered the samples of Montilla Moriles vinegar from the D.O. wineries of in the province of Córdoba. After that, the samples were analysed using both NIRS and traditional tests of reference by the NIR/MIR Unit of at the Central Service for Research Support (SCAI) of the University of Córdoba, as well as the laboratory in Cabra, belonging to IFAPA.

She adds, "After the initial calibration, new samples can be analysed using this type of technology, predicting the same parameters of interest. This leads to a decrease in analytical costs usually associated with traditional methods, since once the equations are developed and validated, we avoid buying reagents or specific instrumentation for each parameter analysed. "

Applicable to other sectors

Including NIRS technology as a new method for analysing the authenticity of these products involves, according to investigators, a breakthrough in the quality control strategies that can be applied either locally or regionally and internationally. "The application of this procedure would reduce costs and time in quality control at local businesses, industries and government agencies, as it would allow a simultaneous analysis, and not random, of all vinegars produced" she says.

This research has opened new lines of work related to the analysis of the quality and origin of agricultural products from other sectors such as fruits or meats. "In addition to applying this technique in other foods, we will try to identify different sources of vinegar (origins), and their raw material to detect imitations such as the usual mixes with alcohol vinegars," concludes the researcher.

The results were achieved by the Excellence Project Sensores MEMS and NIRS-image for in situ non-destructive analyse for animals and vegetables, funded by the Regional Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Science of the Andalusia Government. The director of research is Ana Garrido Varo, Professor at the School of Agricultural and Forestry Engineering (ETSIAM) of the University of Córdoba.

De la Haba MJ, Arias M, Ramírez P, López MI, Sánchez MT. Characterizing and Authenticating Montilla-Moriles PDO Vinegars Using Near Infrared Reflectance Spectroscopy (NIRS). Sensors.

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