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  • The BWB Team

Flame photometry and the food industry



Using four basic components, a flame, nebuliser and mixing chamber, selective filters, and photo detectors, our Flame Photometers simultaneously detect and display five ions K, Na, Li, Ca, and Ba. Accurately determining the concentration of each within a given substance by measuring the intensity of light emitted when each element is exposed to a flame.


The need to monitor levels of certain ingredients in food for health reasons means that flame photometers are commonly used within the food industry. For example, our newest flame photometry platform, the BWB Flash Flame Photometer, can be used to measure; 


  • Potassium and Sodium in Meat

  • Potassium and Sodium in Bread

  • Calcium in Fresh Fruit

  • Calcium and Potassium in Cereals

  • Sodium and Potassium in Dried Milk

  • Sodium and Potassium in Cheese


The levels of these ions in these different foods can be fascinating, for example, the amount of sodium in bread can differ significantly, depending upon brand and type of grain used, ranging from 592mg/100g to 748mg/100g. With this in mind, bread can contribute about one-sixth of daily salt intake. 


The level of sodium in bread is primarily due to the amount of salt added to the dough during manufacture. The amount of potassium is determined by the type of flour and the washing and bleaching operations during cereal processing.


In terms of potassium, bread does not make a significant contribution to maximum daily requirements. 


Flame photometry is also well suited for the determination of sodium, potassium and calcium in fresh fruits. 


There are significant differences in the composition between different varieties of the same fruit, although these differences are not usually considered to be nutritionally significant. In general, calcium typically shows the greatest variability between different varieties of the same fruit.


Based upon typical serving sizes, most fruits could not be considered as ‘good’ sources of calcium (defined as at least 10% of the Daily Value per serving). Most fruits contain very low levels of sodium and most could be considered as ‘sodium free foods’ (FDA, 1993), thus making fruit a good choice for individuals on sodium restricted diets.


Potassium is also an important element in human nutrition and several fruits such as strawberries, bananas, avocados, cantaloupes, honeydew melon and plantains are considered to be good sources (providing at least 10% of the Daily Value).


Full details of this research, including references, as well as procedures for measuring these ions can be found on the links below:



These links include advice on preparation, measurements, storage, key weight measurements and how to avoid challenges such as chemical interference. 



The BWB Flash Flame Photometer is the first simultaneous flame photometer with built-in compressor and configurable element analysis to your requirements. It detects and displays all calibrated ions at the same time and was created by combining the award-winning features of our XP model with new, innovative, and cutting-edge technology to provide unrivalled levels of accuracy, usability and reliability whilst significantly reducing analysis time. 


Key features include;


  • Large 5" touch screen display compatible with the majority of disposable laboratory gloves

  • True ease of use with large buttons and simple to understand text and symbols

  • Built-in air compressor and gas regulator

  • Calibration standards supplied as standard in 10,000ppm concentrations

  • Auto-read technology enables operator independent determination of results

  • User selectable decimal places

  • IQ, OQ, PQ web-based certification available

  • Complete set of basic labware included to get you started


Click here to find out more about its applications in industries outside of the food sector, as well as technical data and FAQs.


You can also contact us today for any further information.

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