Map of The Month - Christmas Spices | Edinburgh Instruments

Map of The Month – Christmas Spices

Edi’s been making a mess in the kitchen! Baking up some Christmas goodies, there have been a few spills along the way – but what was spilled?

Luckily for Edi, they work with a team of experienced problem solvers to investigate the powders left behind!

A sample of the unknown ingredients was analysed under one of EI’s Raman microscopes.

Firstly, the team found winter spices emit a lot of fluorescence making it impossible to decern any meaningful Raman peaks from the results. However, no need to lose hope, the fluorescence itself can actually be used! We were able to run a map in no time at all, using FastMAP®. We could then determine Edi was working with 3 different spices: ginger, nutmeg, and cinnamon thanks to their different photoluminescence spectra!

When December hits and the kitchen transforms into a deliciously scented haven, knowing your ingredients are safe and authentic makes the Christmas cookies taste that little bit sweeter. Raman microscopy is a fantastic tool to identify ingredients, as shown above, and it can be taken one step further for food authenticity.

Raman spectroscopy is highlighted due to its powerful identification and discrimination abilities, whilst also offering a non-destructive technique keeping samples intact. In fact, it can even sample through transparent containers meaning you don’t even need to break the seal to check your shopping!

Find out more ways Raman microscopy can be used in food science:

Discrimination of Cooking Oil

Keeping Whisky Safe

Pesticide Detection on Apples


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