NMR spectroscopy is a powerful technique for measuring subtle chemical changes. However, until recently, the exploitation of this chemical sensitivity in industrial settings has been hampered by the high costs of buying and maintaining a spectrometer, and the necessity for highly trained, specialist staff. The issue of cost has been addressed by Oxford Instruments with the recent launch of their new low-field, bench-top spectrometer, the Pulsar. The data processing and reporting steps also need to be robust and automated, and this has been the role of the QIB team.
To date, we have targeted selected quality assurance issues, primarily in the food sector. Key outputs from the collaboration include:
- A novel method for rapid authentication of ground roast Arabica coffee. Reported in the literature (open access Gunning et. al., 2018). Commercial analytical service offered by QIB Extra.
- First reported use of low field NMR for distinguishing between coffee species (open access Defernez et. al., 2017)
- A method for distinguishing between olive and hazelnut oils. Reported in an open access paper (Parker et al, 2014)
- A novel method for rapid speciation of meat via lipid fraction profiling (patent pending: British Patent Application 1315962.9)
- A detailed study of the NMR speciation method applied to raw beef and horsemeat. Reported in an open access paper (Jakes et al, 2015).
- A book chapter giving an overview of analysis of triglycerides by low-field NMR, and the range of applications addressed on the project.