Ash indicates the inorganic residue which is left after the removal of water and organic matter from food. It is achieved by heating the specimen in the presence of oxidizing agents. This type of testing method can provide you with the measurement of total amount of minerals present in a food item. The techniques utilized for assessing the total mineral content is dependent on the fact that the minerals can be categorized from all the other components within a food in some measurable way. The most widely utilized testing instrument such as the Muffle furnace operates on the fact that minerals are not destroyed after heating, and that they have a low volatility compared to other food components. Ash contents of fresh foods rarely rises above 5%, although some processed foods can have ash contents as high as 12%, for e.g., dried beef or ready-to-eat materials.

The common constituents of ash determined in most of the food items are:

  • Calcium (most all foods except sugar, starch or oil)
  • Phosphorus (dairy, grains, nuts, meats, poultry products)
  • Iron (enriched foods, grains, nuts; meats, eggs, legumes)
  • Sodium (primarily from added salt)
  • Potassium (dairy products, F&V, cereals, nuts, meats)
  • Magnesium (nuts, cereals, legumes)
  • Manganese (cereals, F&V, meats)
  • Copper (sea foods, liver, cereals, vegetables)
  • Zinc (sea foods)

Ash determination method

The three main type of testing procedures utilized to evaluate the ash content of foods are dry ashing, wet ashing and low temperature plasma dry ashing. The method is selected for a particular analysis on the basis of the reason for carrying out the analysis, the testing food type and the equipment present.

However, dry ashing method is more popular among various industries and is utilized for majority of the samples. It is the burning of a testing specimen at high temperature and is conducted in a muffle furnace cabinet. The benefits of conventional dry ashing are that it is a safe method, it requires no added reagents or blank subtraction, and little attention is required once the ignition begins. A large number of crucible bowls can be handled at once, and the resultant ash can be utilized for analyses like individual elements, acid-insoluble ash, and water-soluble and insoluble ash.

To conduct such testing method, Labtiger’s Muffle furnace is known to be a suitable test cabinet designed to detect the percentage of ash content in a particular test specimen.

Few key features we offer with the machine are:

  • Equipped with J-type sensor for accurate temperature detection.
  • Highly accurate test results under uniform distribution of heat.
  • High grade density imported glass wool blanket insulation provided for low heat loss.
  • SSR based heaters installed in the furnace.

For more information on the machine, or to get a technical guidance, kindly contact our team now.