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Gels and hydrocolloids

Gels, gelatin and hydrocolloids are tested for Bloom strength

Gels are commonly used within the food industry as they form an extremely versatile and effectively processed ingredient. Gels as a thickener, binding agent, adhesive property, stabilizer and whipping agent among other functions. Every food sector is influenced by the use of gels in their products and cannot be easily replaced by any other ingredient. Gelatin (or gelatine) has industry standard Bloom strength tests to grade and qualify its gelling properties and other agents (hyrocolloids) may be tested in similar ways.

Gelling agents are also used in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industries to provide desirable texture.

 

 

Typical gel products tested include:Gel strength is measured by a texture analyzer

  • agar
  • alginates
  • carrageenan
  • Gelatin (gelatine)
  • mixed polysaccharides
  • pectin
  • starch gels
  • surimi
  • Tara gum
  • xanthan gum

Benefits of gel texture testing

  • Optimization of ingredient functionality and blend characteristics of edible gelatines for industrial markets
  • Raw material control and quality payment between manufacturers, customers and processors
  • Product formulation and development to gain maximum functionality from gelatine used

Test methods for the gels and hydrocolloids sector

Gelatin Bloom strength test uses a probe to compress the gel surfaceInstrumental measurements are used to assess the functional properties of hydrocolloid gels, usually relating to its firmness and eleasticity, by compression (or occasionally penetration) of the surface. The measurement of gelatin and other gelling agent strength, for example, is an integral part of its quality assessment and grading. Gel strength has been shown to directly relate to the functional performance of the product, independent of its application. Preparation of the sample and test conditions imposed are of critical importance and directly influence the response of the sample being tested. The importance of accuracy and reproducibility of results is compounded when we consider that the majority of hydrocolloid systems are sold based upon their functional properties.

The Bloom strength test

A key example of standardized gel testing is the long established gelatin Bloom strength test. Originally established within the British Standards Method (B.S. 757:1975), this test method has since been modified by the Gelatine Manufacturers of Europe (GME). This technique strictly defines the preparation of the gelatin sample, the test conditions (speed, trigger point, deformation distance, test probe etc.) and instrument specification used to make the test, which performs a controlled compression of the surface. The end result is an empirical test method that follows fundamental principles for standardization and control. The principle reason for gelatin producers to establish a standardized technique is that gelatin is graded by its Bloom value, where higher values mean higher prices, hence uniformity in its quantification is critical in a world market. The Bloom strength relates to the force required to deform the gel, typically in the range 50 Bloom gelatin to 300 Bloom gelatin. Values below 120 are graded as low, those above 200, high and those in betweentermied medium strength.

Read our Gelatine Bloom strength test case study.

Gel testing fixtures

Specific fixtures and accessories are required for Bloom strength testing. The gel sample bottle and probes have exact specifications in terms of dimensions and materials. Food Technology Corporation's gel industry fixtures conform to ISO 9665, GME, AOAC 1985 and BS757 standards.

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I have been using the TMS-Pro mechanical tester in our undergraduate biological materials property course for the past 3 years. The simple setup and operation of the TMS-Pro allows my students to focus on learning the theoretical underpinnings of mechanical properties instead of fighting with a finicky test system.

An added bonus is working with Shirl and his amazing team at Food Technology Corporation. They respond almost immediately to questions and inquiries and are always friendly and helpful. 

Jennifer (Melander) Keshwani, Ph.D. University of Nebraska-Lincoln
http://www.unl.edu/

Excellent customer service. Consistently followed up and offered help without asking. Relatively low priced - provides good value. 

Easy to switch different load cells. Used it for 5 lab sessions for 68 students this semester and performed well.

 

 

Professor Jeyam Subbiah, University of Nebraska
https://nebraska.edu/

My first contact with FTC was through buying texture analyzer equipment as my area of interest is Rheology. We faced a problem operating the appliance. The company tried hard to help us through the internet, but the University thought it was better to send me to the company branch located in England. I received a highly advanced training course for 10 days free of charge. They provided me with programs that operate the equipment along with the information needed.

It was a great effort and outstanding support. I would like to thank Shirl Lakeway and FTC for providing me with this opportunity and for his continuous help. Finally, I encourage researchers who are interested in the physical properties of foods and dairy to choose FTC as it is a respectable and dependable company and offers the best deals concerning prices and training with different languages, such as Arabic for the Middle East.

Professor Hoda El-Zeini, Dairy Science and Agriculture University - Cairo, Egypt
Professor
https://cu.edu.eg