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Gruppo has implemented the Thermo Scientific Flash 4000 nitrogen/protein analyser to enable efficient and accurate nitrogen/protein determination in animal feed and human food samples.

The analyser has increased the efficiency of analyses at the institute and has provided precision while also facilitating increased sample capacity and high sample throughput.

As a result of the increase in speed and throughput of analyses, Gruppo has been able to expand its range of services to customers.

Located in Rimini, Italy, Gruppo houses a food laboratory division that performs a range of analyses, including nitrogen/protein determination in animal feed and human food samples.

The institute has seen a surge in the number of animal feed analyses that it performs due to a recent European Commission initiative that provides a financial incentive for farmers producing dehydrated alfalfa with levels of protein above 15 per cent.

In response to customer demand, Gruppo is required to conduct rapid nitrogen/protein analysis on high quantities of dehydrated alfalfa in adherence with the Association of Official Agricultural Chemists (AOAC) 992.23 method.

To address the growing analytical requirements while also remaining compliant with industry regulations, Gruppo selected the Thermo Scientific Flash 4000 nitrogen/protein analyser.

Prior to implementing the Flash 4000 instrument, Gruppo utilised the traditional Kjeldahl method for its nitrogen/protein analyses.

However, the method suffers from a number of challenges – namely that it is extremely time consuming, requiring more than four hours to complete a single analytical cycle of 20 samples.

As a consequence, the institute could not provide high-quantity alfalfa analysis as a key service.

The method also requires the use of acids at extremely high temperatures, posing a significant safety risk.

Working with the Dumas combustion method for protein analysis, the Flash 4000 overcomes these challenges, increasing overall productivity and cost efficiency, while also eliminating the use of corrosive acids, which improves health and safety conditions within the institute.

The Flash 4000 now enables Gruppo’s team to process up to 50 samples in a single cycle, while the four-hour cycle time has been reduced to 10min.

In contrast to the Kjeldahl method, which requires constant monitoring, the Flash 4000 can run unattended and overnight, saving time for the institute’s technicians and increasing overall throughput.

The elimination of dangerous acids and toxic reagents has also meant that the instrument is much easier to clean and maintain, particularly with the inclusion of a self-cleaning filter, saving both time and money.

Thermo Fisher Scientific (Elemental Analysis)

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