Chip-DSC 10 – food testing with DSC – butter and margarine

Food-DSC – Melting behavior of butter and margarine

In both food production and health-related studies, thermal analysis has become increasingly vital, with a particular focus on determining the carbon and fat content in various products. Products like butter and margarines pose challenges in identifying the types of contained fats, making the DSC method a valuable tool for quality control in both production and research.

The DSC signal is generated by heating a sample-containing pan alongside an empty reference pan using the same heat source. By subtracting the heat flow signals of the two pans, endothermic or exothermic peaks emerge if the sample undergoes temperature changes due to thermal effects.

The Chip-DSC, utilized in this application, consolidates essential DSC components—furnace, sensor, and electronics—within a miniaturized housing. This chip arrangement includes a chemically inert ceramic setup with a metallic heater and temperature sensor, enabling rapid heating and cooling speeds coupled with high resolution, accuracy, and reproducibility. DSC measurements provide a fingerprint model for substance identification in quality control and help determine enthalpies of effects like phase transitions.

DSC Heat Flow curves of plant margarines, low fat margarine and butter. Heating rate 5 K/min.

The provided figure displays DSC profiles of three different kinds of margarines and butter. Each sample underwent precooling with liquid nitrogen to -60°C and was then measured using consistent conditions and sample masses.

The initial effect observed in all four samples is the endothermic melting enthalpy of the contained water at around 0°C. Notably, plant margarine and sunflower oil margarine, with an 80% fat content, exhibit significantly less water than the low-fat margarine with only 37% fat. Butter, however, has a water content similar to the 80% fat margarines.

At 50°C, the fatty acids in the plant and sunflower oil margarine begin to melt, displaying several endothermic melting peaks. The sunflower oil margarine exhibits fewer peaks than the plant margarine, which evidently contains a more diverse range of unsaturated and saturated fatty acids. The low-fat margarine melts earlier at around 40°C, characterized by a broad melting peak, indicating a higher proportion of short-chain fatty acids compared to the two plant margarines.

In contrast, butter starts to melt slightly above room temperature, resulting in a notable small melting peak at 35°C. At higher temperatures, additional melting effects of fatty acids occur, remaining solid as white flakes in the molten butter until their respective melting points are reached.

In summary, the Chip DSC proves instrumental in the analysis and comparison of butter and margarines, offering insights into water content and different fatty acids, which can be utilized for both quality control and research purposes.

Related instruments

Chip-DSC 10 (Photo Option)

  • The entry-level model with interchangeable sensor
  • Cost-effective, highly innovative and compact DSC
  • RT up to 450°C
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