Expert Insight: How automated optimization can push the limits of efficiency in beverage testing

Watch this on-demand webinar to gain insight on the quality attributes of beverage testing by integrated wet chemical analyzer

16 Apr 2020

Brandon Van Leer
Hannah Turner, MSU Barley, Malt & Brewing Quality Lab and Dr. Hari Narayanan, Thermo Fisher Scientific

Achieving product consistency for malt, beer, wine, cider and other beverages requires analysis of multiple parameters using several automated instrumentations and/or bench-top chemistry procedures. While individual automated instruments offer precise and accurate results, the overall time taken for complete analysis is longer and offers limited automation or high-throughput options. An integrated discrete analyzer simultaneously automates analysis from a single sample offering fast turnaround, reduced human error, reduced reagent use, and expanded laboratory analytical capabilities.

In this on-demand SelectScience® webinar, Hannah Turner, Director of the Montana State University Barley, Malt & Brewing Quality Lab, presents new and optimized methods for critical process parameters such as a-amylase, diastatic power, FAN, and B-glucan, for malting and brewing analysis. Dr. Hari Narayanan, Product Marketing Manager, Thermo Fisher Scientific, presents an overview of the integrated discrete analyzer applications for wine, other beverages and process water applications.

Read on for highlights from the live Q&A session or register to watch the webinar at any time that suits you.


Q: Hannah, you mentioned the American Society of Brewing Chemists (ASBC). Could you tell us when the method is expected and how many labs are participating in the study?

HT: By May, the results should be finalized and collected and then it’s about ensuring that we have the stability that we’re looking for and then getting those methods ready. However, with the current state of events around the world, the date might get pushed back but we’re hoping that won’t be the case.

Q: With regards to free and total SO2, how would you compare the results of auto-titration and do you have any ready-to-use test kits?

HN: Commonly, auto-titration is used for both the free and total sulfur dioxide determination. This method is commonly known as the aeration-oxidation method or the AO method. This method involves adding acid and liberating the sulfur dioxide and measuring it by potentiometric titration. Achieving repeatable results is a challenge and requires a skilled operator. We offer a ready-to-use reagent kit for both free and total sulfur dioxide. What we have learned from our customers is that they use auto-titration only for checking the Gallery performance using a reference sample, for free and total SO2.  For all the routine applications they use either the Thermo Scientific Gallery or Gallery Plus platform, which is faster and reproducible. There is an excellent correlation between the AO method by titration and by the photometric measurement using the Gallery platform.

Q: For someone currently using the Lachat Quikchem® Flow Injection Analysis System for water analysis, are they able to transfer the method to the Gallery platform?

HN: Yes, the transfer is seamless and entirely possible, for many methods. As Hannah explained during her talk, the Gallery platform is more open, so the reagents can be added in any sequence, simulating the flow injection conditions. The temperature can then be raised, up to four different reagents can be added to simulate the flow injection conditions. If anyone is using the Lachat Quikchem® Flow Injection Analyzer System, we would be able to transfer the method to the Gallery or Gallery Plus platform.

Q: Are there any major sample preparation changes to the methods that you described?

HT: No, sample preparation would be the same whether you’re using segmented flow or the Gallery Platform. A lot of those methods are described through the ASBC, it would all be the same: grind the malt, do your mashing process, do your filtration and get a wort. You would be injecting that wort into either the segmented flow or into the Gallery, so preparation would all be identical.

Q: The Gallery coefficient that you mentioned, is that the R-squared value?

HT: Yes, you could treat it in the same way as R-squared, the goal is to have that value as close to 1 as possible.

Q: How do I choose between a flow injected analyzer and a discrete analyzer? 

HN: The flow injection analyzer is a traditional wet chemical method where you need to use larger amounts of reagents which generates more waste. The chemistry is quite sensitive when you’re transferring to discrete analyzers such as the Gallery platform - which is much more open. The reagent addition and their sequence can be easily matched with the flow injection analysis system. Discrete analyzers such as the Gallery platform offers much higher throughput and very low reagent and sample consumption, which leads to a reduction in waste generation and an overall reduction of cost per analysis.  Technology selection is typically based on the type of analysis your lab performs, regulatory methods, detection limits, operator skill level so forth.  These are some of the parameters to consider when you are choosing between the flow injection analyzer or discrete analyzer.

HT: Another benefit of a discrete analyzer is that, with a smaller sample size and smaller reagents, the waste generated will be highly diluted with water just from the natural process of the Gallery platform. When we purchased this, we did rigorous testing at our university to make sure that we can flush the wastewater down the sink. Since our waste is dilute, the university deemed it safe for us to pour that small amount of wastewater down the sink.

Q: Should we use SPSS Statistics, or will it come with the software?

HN: I assume that the question is about whether the calibration functionalities are built into the Gallery platform software, and the answer is yes. You do not need external correlational or statistical software. The Gallery platform comes with its own calibration functionality; it gives a variety of options starting from a simple factor, linear, logarithmic, bias, point to point calibration. One can choose the right calibration functionality with the Gallery platform.

Learn more about beverage testing: Watch this webinar on demand >>

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