Salt is used as a flavour enhancer and preservative in numerous foods. It’s a component of salt, which is found in nature as well as being added to food products. While sodium has both advantages and drawbacks, it can have a detrimental – and beneficial – influence on human health.

As a result, food producers must test salt levels in their foods. Titration has been used as a standard procedure for many years, but it is being replaced by more efficient methods. It isn’t quick enough to keep up with the high-volume production of certain categories, especially snack foods.

There are various alternative techniques for measuring salt and real-time NIR (Near Infrared) spectroscopy can now perform this function.

What happens when you test the salt?

The titration of an unknown sample to a known concentration, or titrant, is used to determine the concentration of an unknown one – an analyte. It’s utilized by food manufacturers who have their testing facilities. The amount of titrant used to achieve a certain endpoint is determined in testing. There are two ways to do it: manually and automatically. Both are quite popular, but they each have certain limitations.

Titration by Hand

In a manual titration, the Mohr procedure is employed. Using a burette, add silver nitrate to a sample manually. The chloride in the sample reacts with the silver ions in the titrant to produce a reaction. It happens at each dose, resulting in the formation of a solid silver chloride precipitate that is insoluble.

The reaction is completed until no more chloride is detected. It becomes a crimson colour, which is the final point. The chloride content may be calculated and used by the tester to determine how much sodium chloride there is in the solution.

Manual titration is a cost-effective testing technique because it only requires a burette and other glassware containers, as well as a colour indicator and the titrant. manual Titration has disadvantages, though.

When working out the titration endpoint via a colour change, it necessitates a significant amount of subjectivity, which affects accuracy.

Titration by Computerization

The potentiometric method, also known as automated titration, uses a potentiometer to measure the concentration of the solution and its endpoint. Instead of relying on a visible colour change, this approach measures variations in mV, or membrane potential.

The system automatically provides more accurate, smaller doses of titrant and many devices can also give dynamic dosing, wherein the amounts decrease as you approach an endpoint. It’s a time-saving method that helps to minimize human error during the titration process while also preventing overshooting of the goal.

The automated titrator will complete the necessary computations and show you the required number of concentration units. The automated technique, however, necessitates a greater investment than other salt testing methods – more than any other salt testing method.

Production problems on the manufacturing line

If a snack company uses titration to test a production line sample, the entire procedure might take up to 10 minutes. The difficulty is that this is not a real-time reading. Meanwhile, the line will have moved on, leaving any products created during that time in either quarantine or waste.

The salt content in food may be monitored in real-time, which would not result in losses. NIR offers that solution.

NIR salt measurement with a spectrophotometer

Real-time assessment of seasoning while creating snack food allows production line personnel to intervene and adjust without losing entire runs of the product. When there are problems with seasonings, they can cause delays in the line. NIR testing helps to avoid this by allowing you to identify bad salt before it causes blockages in your lines.

Advanced NIR techniques

As production lines for food have evolved, so too has testing technology. That’s not solely a question of technology; it’s also a question of efficiency. NIR instruments that are cutting edge can analyse food samples in as little as 30 milliseconds and accurately determine salt content in real-time. Call Calibre Control or for further information about high-tech food quality testing equipment such as NIR.