Image credit: PexelsImage credit: Pexels

A Brazilian company, Fine Instrument Technology (FIT), has designed a device that can analyze both the chemical and physical condition of fruits, olive oil, grains, milk and meat all within a matter of seconds.

The device, called SpecFIT, is a combination of an antenna or probe, a radio receiver, a computer and low-field NMR (nuclear magnetic resonance). Although commonly used in the medical field, the NMR in this particular application serves a different function, according to researchers.

"The technology is different from that used in NMR devices for medical applications," says Daniel Consalter, Ph.D. in physics and one of FIT's managing partners.

The device is used to assess, for instance, the sugar content in fruits or the fat content, flavor, moisture and tenderness in beef for quality purposes.

The device sends a radio signal to the food sample and the signal is captured by the antenna that has already been inserted into the sample. The radio signal, which has been emitted by the antenna, is then digitized, analyzed and converted into product quality information.

"The faster the signal from a piece of fruit disappears, the sweeter it must be, since signal fade is proportional to the viscosity of the water in the fruit, which in turn depends on the amount of sugar," Consalter explains.

The SpecFIT food system is expected to launch at the end of 2017.