U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists in Beltsville, Md., have developed and patented an experimental, cutting-edge optical scanning system that would use two different kinds of lighting, a sophisticated camera and other pieces of equipment to scrutinize produce-section favorites while they are still at the packinghouse.
The system would provide, in a single image, evidence of certain kinds of defects or contaminants, according to biophysicist Moon S. Kim with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS). Defects could include cuts and bruises. Contaminants might include specks of fertilizer from orchard or field soil.
Kim, ARS agricultural engineers Yud-Ren Chen (now retired) and Kuanglin (Kevin) Chao, and ARS biomedical engineer Alan M. Lefcourt received a patent in 2010 for their automated approach to detecting defects and contaminants on the exterior of fresh produce or other items. The scientists work in the ARS Environmental Microbial and Food Safety Research Laboratory at Beltsville.
The team's system harnesses the capabilities of a type of camera known as a high-speed multispectral/hyperspectral line-scanner. Positioned above a conveyor belt, the scanner captures images of each fast-moving item, such as an apple. Each apple is exposed simultaneously to ultra-violet light from a UV fluorescent lamp and near infra-red light from a halogen lamp. The near infra-red light that bounces off the apple can be captured by an instrument known as a spectrograph and analyzed for tell-tale patterns of defects, while the UV light beamed on the apple can disclose the whereabouts of contaminants.
The system combines information from both forms of illumination into a single image with contaminant and defect results. When linked to a sorting machine, the system can signal the sorter to separate the problem apples from others.
At present, the system offers, at the rate of about 3 to 4 apples per second, a 180-degree view of each apple's exterior, Kim reports. The scientists are working to improve the process so it will provide a 360-degree whole-surface view for thorough inspection.
Preliminary findings from this work appeared in a 2008 issue of the journal Sensing and Instrumentation for Food Quality and Safety.
ARS is the USDA's chief intramural scientific research agency. The Beltsville team's investigations are helping enhance food safety, a USDA top priority.
USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Ave., S.W., Washington, D.C. 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).
Marcia Wood | EurekAlert!
Six-legged livestock -- sustainable food production
11.05.2017 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen
Elephant Herpes: Super-Shedders Endanger Young Animals
04.05.2017 | Universität Zürich
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy