Showing posts with label brix. Show all posts
Showing posts with label brix. Show all posts

Measuring Brix

Brix measures sugar content
Degrees Brix is the unit used to determine
sugar content in a solution.
Degrees Brix is a measurement unit to determine sugar content, typically in the food and beverage industry using a refractometer. Brix measurements allow precise quality control for sugar levels in different beverages, with one degree Brix equating to 1 gram of sucrose in 100 grams of solution. While sucrose is the primary element measured by the Brix reading, it is important to understand how other ingredients affect the Brix reading. The Brix reading can relatively calculate the amount of sweetener in a certain product in addition to exactly calculating the previously mentioned sucrose level.

Sucrose and other sweeteners allow for members of the food and beverage industry to create unique recipes for their products. However, a sucrose solution dissolved in water will return different Brix values than a soda because other elements in the process impact the Brix reading. To account for these shifting variables, a Brix value can be measured through either density or refractive index. Specific control parameters need to be established prior to measuring these solutions with refractometers, thus causing the term “Refractive Brix” to be used when comparing samples against results obtained via different calculation methods. Along with the numerical sugar concentration of a particular product, a product’s sugar concentration correlates to the product’s sweetness, giving controllers the ability to ensure repeatability in their process.

Process refractometers monitor and control
the quality of products containing sugar by
measuring Brix. 
Alongside Brix’s main functionality as an indicator of sucrose, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) has become popular in the food and beverage industry as a replacement for sucrose. Recently, the amount of HFCS in a certain product has also been expressed as Brix, allowing for the Brix degree measurement to expand past its original purpose. Digital refractometers have become increasingly popular in measuring Brix degrees and also the percentage of HFCS in a certain product. These dual measurement possibilities allow operators to compare the content of a certain substance across multiple variables of sweetness. Additionally, the availability of these measurements in a certain process via the same measurement device allows for simplification of the measurement process. Hydrometers are another method used to measure Brix, although, as opposed to refractometers, variations in operator control may cause the results of a hydrometer test to be different. Both Brix and HFCS allow for food and beverage controllers to maintain cost and quality control, both in determining how much sucrose should be used in the process and to ensure each individual product meets quality standards.

Electron Machine Corporation

Measuring Total Soluble Solids with Refractometers

Inline, process refractometer for beverage production
Inline, process refractometer for beverage production.
Just as weight is expressed in pounds, the level of soluble solids in a solution is measured in degrees Brix (symbol °Bx).  The Brix scale is based on a solution of pure sucrose diluted with water. Adolf Brix first developed the Brix scale in the 1800s. For example, a 100 gram solution with a Brix 50 reading contains 50 grams of sugar (and other dissolved solids) and 50 grams of water.

Fruit juices, wine, nectars, and other beverages all contain soluble solids. Total Soluble Solids (TSS) refers to the total amount of soluble constituents of the juice, wine or other beverage. These are mainly sugars, with smaller amounts of amino acids, pectin, and organic acids. For example, approximately 85% of the total soluble solids of citrus fruit are sugars. Because sugar is the most abundant soluble solid, the Brix scale is used by the beverage industry in determining the sucrose equivalent of soluble solids in their products. The term "Brix" or "degrees Brix" is used interchangeably with % sucrose or % soluble solids by weight.

Refractometers are instruments that determine soluble solid concentration by evaluating the solution's refractive index. Changes in direction of a light beam passing through the solution correlate to the amount of dissolved solids in the solution. Basically, the higher the level of soluble solids in the solution, the greater the bending of the light beam. In large scale beverage plants, inline process refractometers are used to control quality and consistency by continuous monitoring of the soluble solid concentration.

For more information about measuring TSS and/or Brix in a commercial beverage production facility, contact Electron Machine by visiting or calling 352-669-3101.

Refractometers for Food and Beverage Processing

Refractometers commonly used to detect sugar levels and properties of jams juices, beverages, dairy products and much more.

Electron Machine Corporation developed the first in-line process refractometer more than 50 years ago when orange juice was first concentrated. Since that time, their refractometers have been successfully applied on many more applications including the production of sucrose, fructose, dextrose, soft drinks, fruit juices, dairy, apple sauce, jams, jellies, beer, wine, coffee, tea, vegetable oils, tomato paste, ice cream and honey.

With an extremely durable Sapphire prism as its foundation, the Electron Machine MPR E-Scan combines accurate measurements with ruggedized components in the sensing head combining for years of of dependable and accurate service in harsh food production environments.

Inline Refractometers Used in Commercial Food and Beverage Production

refractometers for food processing
Refractometers assist in consistent quality
in commercial food and beverage processing.
All commercial food brands must assure a level of quality their users have grown to expect. A change in their product's quality can trigger a change in the customer's buying habits. The ability to provide consistent quality and taste is key to happy customers and continued sales.

For producers of many commercial food products, such as wine, fruit juice, jams, and carbonated beverages, a critical way to control quality is by measuring "Brix".

Brix is a unit of measurement used to to establish the concentration of sucrose and other sugars (as well as other dissolved solids) in aqueous solutions. When evaluating sweetness, one degree Brix (symbol °Bx) is defined as 1 gram of sucrose in 100 grams of solution, and represents the strength of the solution as percentage by mass.

Inline refractometers provide commercial food,  juice and wine producers critical information about the make-up of their product. Many commercial food processing plants use refractometers to blend their products to consistent Brix level, thus assuring consistency. Because the dissolution of sucrose and other sugars in a solution changes the solution’s refractive index, measuring this change can be used reliably to measure consistency and quality. A refractometer works by shining an LED light source from a range of angles, through a product sample, onto a prism surface. By measuring the difference in the reflection and refraction of the light source, a critical angle can be determined and the refractive index can be accurately calculated.  This measurement and calculation can be done accurately, repeatably, and with speed, so inline refractometers have proven themselves reliable instruments for the measurement of Brix in all food processing applications.

Typical applications for the measurement of sucrose, fructose, and dextrose by an inline refractometer:
  • Soft drinks, fruit juices, dairy.
  • Apple sauces, jams and jellies.
  • Beer wine, coffee, and tea.
  • Vegetable oils.
  • Tomato pastes and sauces.
  • Honey.
For any questions about the use of refractometry in food and beverage processing, contact Electron Machine Company at 352-669-3101 or visit

Benchtop Refractometer Rugged Enough For Field Use

DSA E-Scan
Dissolved Solids Analyzer
Refractometry is a widely employed analytical technique used to indirectly measure dissolved solids content of subject liquids. The process employs a refractometer, a device or instrument, to determine the refractive index for a test sample. The measurement is employed throughout science and industry to assess a material's composition or purity.

The refractive index of a substance is dependent, in part, upon temperature and the wavelength of light used in the measurement. Common applications include Brix testing for sucrose level, along with others in the beverage, pulp and paper, chemical, flavor, and fragrance industries. Refractometry is used as a quality control measurement, to assure uniformity among product batches.

Manual refractometers have been available for many years and require human observation and interpretation of a scale reading to obtain a refractive index. Automatic, as well as in-line units are available today that provide uniform accuracy and faster sample processing.

The DSA E-Scan, manufactured by Electron Machine, is an automatic, bench-top critical angle refractometer with a digital readout and temperature-controlled sample chamber. Its compact size and rugged design permit operation in the field and in areas with limited space. The unit provides fast and accurate refractive index measurements of sample liquids.