Development of fast and affordable methods for measuring quality related properties of confections
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The global confectionary market was valued at $184 billion in 2015, and is projected to reach $232 billion by 2022. The industry directly employs 55,000 people domestically, and more than 400,000 jobs in agriculture, retail, transportation and other industries rely in part on the sale and manufacture of confections. However, many available analytical methods for measuring the quality of confections are relatively expensive, time consuming, and difficult to operate or maintain, therefore, it is unrealistic for small/medium confection manufacturers to use those methods. The objective of this study was to develop fast-measuring and affordable analytical methods for some important quality related properties. In addition, the developed methods were used to study the properties of confections and compare them with traditional methods, seeking their potential applications in confection quality assurance for small/medium confection manufacturers and other researchers. Two capacitance-based thermal analysis (CTA) methods were developed to study the glass transition and melting properties of different boiled candies and chocolates respectively. Three particle size measurement methods were tested for characterizing cocoa particle size distribution in the refining/conching process. The microstructure of cocoa particles was also studied by scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Flavor development and volatile compounds profiles of cocoa during roasting and refining/conching processes were studied by electronic nose. The results provide better understandings about quality related properties, such as glass transition, melting, and particle size, of confection by using non-traditional methods. The potential applications of fast-measuring and affordable analytical methods were tested and several of the methods were proved to be useful for small/medium confection manufacturers.