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NIR technology in the finals of the GAA's GOAL Innovation Awards

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Pegasus Science LTDA of Santa Maria, Brazil, is the third finalist of the Global Aquaculture Innovation Awards 2019. The company has developed a specialized, mycotoxin specific analysis of near infrared (NIR) spectroscopy for the measurement of mycotoxins affecting foods and feeds.

Located adjacent to the visible spectrum, near infrared starts at a wavelength of about 750 nanometers wavelength, or slightly longer than red, and runs out to as much as 3,000 nanometers. When illuminated by the right light, compounds produce invisible-to-the-eye NIR signatures. Measuring these emissions via spectroscopy enables discovery of the chemical makeup of a sample. With NIR spectroscopy, feed makers monitor the crude protein, fat, fiber, minerals and other parameters of incoming materials.

“The nutritionist needs to know the chemical and energy composition of the raw materials so as to produce the feed in such a way that it meets the nutritional needs of the animals that will consume the feed,” Adriano Mallmann, technical director, said.

Mallmann added that the mycotoxin detection gold standard is liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry, a mouthful abbreviated as LC-MS/MS. This approach requires specialized equipment, know-how and chemicals. At best, measurement takes a day and are only possible with a suitable in-house lab. More typical is a seven to 14-day turnaround. In contrast, NIR spectroscopy involves grinding the grains, reading the spectrum and analyzing the results. According to Mallmann, it only takes a few minutes.

The company also created an online platform, Olimpo, that allows the determination of statistics, trend curves and risk of contamination in feed raw materials. Currently, this is only for those mycotoxins that are the most likely to be present, with work underway to extend coverage.

The company and representatives from the other two finalists of the Global Aquaculture Innovation Award will pitch their ideas at GAA’s upcoming GOAL conference that will be held from October 21- 24 in Chennai, India; the audience will vote for the winner.

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