Laser sorter set to boost
detection of aflatoxin
of Article: http://www.foodproductiondaily.com/Processing/Laser-sorter-set-to-boost-detection-of-aflatoxin
By Rory Harrington, 09-Jun-2009
A new laser sorter that makes
aflatoxin-contaminated products easier to detect and reduces yield loss has
the potential to revolutionise the processing of a wide range of crop
plants, claims its manufacturer.
Belgium-based Best said the Detox Laser sorter uses lasers in conjunction
with a newly developed optical design to facilitate the discovery of
aflatoxin-tainted materials. Using its own Helius free-fall laser sorters,
the new Best product con be configured with up to 12 laser sensors that
provide, what the company claims to be, the highest detection resolution on
A combination of structural measurements and full spectrum RGB
colour sorting makes it’s a highly adaptable system, said Best. A colour
touch screen and a GUI human interface with simple and easy to understand
controls allow operators to monitor all aspects of the sorting process,
said the firm.
Ease of use and convenience are two characteristics of the new
system, said the company, which also has operations in the United States, Hong
Kong and China.
“Simply press one button to start in the morning and one to stop at
night, no calibration, or adjustments and no cleaning is required allowing
for continuous production,” said a company
Developed in collaboration with the University of Brussels, the
sorter is already being used in the processing of almonds, figs, Brazil
nuts and peanuts.
A spokesperson for the company told FoodProductionDaily.com: “The
Detox sorter allows companies to be more efficient because there will be
less product destroyed. We believe it has the potential to revolutionise
the processing of crops such as nuts and figs.”
Aflatoxin, the generic name for several related metabolites
(mycotoxins) produced by the mould Aspergillus Flavus on a wide range of
nuts, is known to cause serious health problems and be highly carcinogenic.
Historically, detection of aflatoxin
has been difficult but the company is convinced it has developed an
Production line test
A test conducted last month, when the sorter was integrated into the
production line of one almond processor, demonstrates its effectiveness,
said a Best statement. Outlining its performance, the company said the
machine had processed 1,881 pallets of almonds that had been put on hold by
the Voluntary Aflatoxin Sampling Plan (VASP) system. The machine sorted
1,877 tonnes of almonds at 3.2 ton/hour, which were all tested for
aflatoxin contamination afterwards.
The first pass registered 93 percent effectiveness in detecting
tainted nuts - with only five pallets highlighted as contaminated.
Subsequent VASP tests identified 135 of the remaining 1,876 pallets as
being unsafe. However, when these were reprocessed by the Detox sorter, the
second pass was 100 per cent successful – with contaminated product found
in less than one pallet – just 0.01 percent of the almonds.
“These numbers prove that the Detox Laser Sorter can accurately
reject contaminated product and reduce aflatoxin below the lowest accepted
level (5 ppb) without sacrificing good product,” said a company statement.