Fruit analysis set to get easier

Felix Instruments, the Applied Food Science subsidiary of CID Bio-Science, is set to introduce a tool that can analyze fruit without affecting the actual fruit. The F-750 brix and dry matter meter, which can assess fruit maturity and skin color, will be available for purchase within the year.

Assessing the quality and maturation of fruit, at least for apples and pears, has largely relied on a starch test. That requires cutting the fruit in half and using iodine, which reacts to the starch content in the fruit and stains the flesh, to assess the stage of maturation. Several years ago, Australian researchers developed an alternative measurement tool that used near infrared spectrometry to assess fruit in a non-destructive manner. While easier and more accurate than the starch test, it proved too expensive for many in the produce industry.

“We licensed the technology from Central Queensland University and we re-engineered it using newer, more capable electronics and software,” said Leonard Felix, Founder of Felix Instruments. “Our version is easier to use and is less expensive.” One of the primary reasons the first iteration failed was that the high price limited the size of the prospective market. The F-750 will retail for about half the price of earlier iterations of the fruit assessment technology.

Because it will measure dry matter (the percentage of fruit that's not water), the sugar content, and gauge quality, Felix believes the tool will have a wide market. “It will be useful for growers and crop consultants who want to determine the ideal time to pick a crop,” said Felix. “It can also be used by folks who purchase or sell fruit because they'll be able to quickly and easily assess fruit quality.”

“This technology was extremely popular when it came out five years ago, especially in the mango industry, and they were selling as many units as they could build,” said Felix. “So we fully expect the F-750 with its lower price and better performance to deliver superior results.”

For more information:
Leonard Felix
CID Bio-Science, Inc.
Felix Instruments

Tel: (360) 833-8835 ext. 202
Fax: (360) 833-1914

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