Water Activity Meter Operator’ Manual s Version 5
for AquaLab models Series 3 and 3TE
Decagon Devices, Inc.
Decagon Devices, Inc. 2365 NE Hopkins Court Pullman WA 99163 (509) 332-2756 fax: (509) 332-5158 www.aqualab.com email@example.com Trademarks AquaLab is a registered trademark of Decagon Devices, Inc. © 1990-2007 Decagon Devices, Inc.
AquaLab Table of Contents
1. Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 About this Manual . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Customer Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Phone: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Fax: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 E-mail: . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Warranty . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2 Note to our AquaLab Users . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 Seller’s Liability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3 2. About AquaLab . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 AquaLab Models and Options . . . . . . . . . . 5 AquaLab and water activity . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 How AquaLab works . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6 AquaLab and Temperature . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7 Series 3TE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Limitations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Features . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 11 3. Getting Started . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 Components of your AquaLab . . . . . . . . . 12 Choosing a Location . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 13 Preparing AquaLab for Operation . . . . . 13 4. The Menus . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 The Main Menu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15 Changing Languages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Normal sampling mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Continuous Mode . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Temperature Equilibration Screen . . . . . . 18
. . . . . .38 7. . . . . 32 Samples Needing Special Preparation . . . . 41 8. . . . . . Theory: Water Activity in Products 47
. . . . . 20 Adjusting for linear offset . . . . .37 Samples not at Room Temperature . . .24 When to Verify for Linear Offset . . . . .24 Verification Standards . . .44 Using Windows Hyperterminal . .45 9. . Taking a Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32 Preparing the Sample . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Linear Offset and Verification Standards . . . . . . . . . . .40 Cautions . .34 Coated and Dried Samples . . . . . . 20
5. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 How AquaLab takes Readings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26 How to Verify and Adjust for Linear Offset 26 Adjusting for linear offset . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 Series 3TE menu . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Propylene Glycol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Changing the beeper . . . . . 36 Low Water Activity . . . . . 27 6. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Measurement Steps . . . . . . 24 What is Linear Offset? . . . . . . . . . . Computer Interface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Sample Preparation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .AquaLab Table of Contents
System configuration . . . . 19 EXIT . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 AquaLink Software . . . . . . . . 34 Slow Water-Emitting Samples . .
10. . . . . . . . 51 Osmotic effects . 83 Dairy Products . . . .53 Relating aw to water content . . . . . . . . . . . .55 Cleaning the Block and Sensors . . . . .50 Factors in determining Water Potential . . . . . . .AquaLab Table of Contents
Water content . . . . . . . . . . . . 61 Repair Costs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .72 13. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79 Water Activity in Foods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 74 Water Activity Theory and Measurement 74 Food Quality and Safety . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Cleaning and Maintenance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 Tools Needed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Water activity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Checking Calibration . . . . . . . . . . 63 12. . . . . . .86
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 56 Accessing the Block . . . . .47 Effect of Temperature on water activity 49 Water Potential . . . . .59 11. . . . . 63 Loaner Service . . . . Repair Instructions . . 61 Shipping Directions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64 Component Performance Screen . Troubleshooting .78 Water Activity and Microbiology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Further Reading . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 83 Meat and Seafood . . 64 Problems and Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52 Sorption Isotherms . . . . . .85 Fruits and Vegetables . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51 Matric effects . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . 88 Beverages/Soups/Sauces/Preserves . 92 Appendix A . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98
. . . . . . . .94 Appendix B . . . . . . . . . . 94 Preparing Salt Solution . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 91 Miscellaneous . . . 90 Pharmaceuticals/Cosmetics . .AquaLab Table of Contents
Baked Goods and Cereals . . . . . . . . . 96 Declaration of Conformity . . . 97 Certificate of Traceability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Welcome to Decagon’s AquaLab Series 3. It is easy to use and provides accurate and timely results. AquaLab is the quickest.AquaLab Introduction
1. and most reliable instrument available for measuring water activity. most accurate. or if you just have questions. preparing samples. and maintaining and caring for your instrument. Please read these instructions before operating AquaLab to ensure that the instrument performs to its full potential.
If you ever need assistance with your AquaLab. there are several ways to contact us:
. Whether you are researching or working on the production line. AquaLab will suit your needs.
About this Manual
Included in this manual are instructions for setting up your AquaLab. We hope you find this manual informative and helpful in understanding how to maximize the capabilities of your AquaLab. verifying the calibration of the instrument. the industry standard for measuring water activity (aw).
address. your name.com. between 8 a. phone and fax number along with a description of your problem. please include your AquaLab’s serial number. phone. Monday through Friday. To validate your warranty. For our customers outside of the US and Canada. and 5 p.m. you can send us messages via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. E-mail: If you need technical support. Pacific time at 1-800-755-2751.
If you have a question about your application with AquaLab.m. please include as part of your message your AquaLab’s serial number. address. please send your message with the above information to aqualab@decagon. fax number.
AquaLab has a 30-day satisfaction guarantee and a threeyear warranty on parts and labor. your name. Fax: Our fax number is (509) 332-5158.AquaLab Introduction
Phone: Our toll-free telephone number is available to our customers in the US and Canada. please complete and return the warranty card
. Again. and return e-mail address. our regular telephone number is (509) 332-2756. When you fax us.
. but not without limitation.
Note to our AquaLab Users
This manual is written to aid the end user in understanding the basic concepts of water activity. neglect. You can return your warranty information by fax. or to property or things of whatsoever kind (including. damage or injuries to persons (including death). accident and excessive deterioration due to corrosion from any cause are not to be considered a defect).AquaLab Introduction
included with this manual. misuse. Seller shall not be liable to Buyer for loss. Please include all the information requested on the card.O. e-mail.B. enabling them to use our instrument with confidence. Every effort has been made to ensure that the content of this manual is correct and scientifically sound. phone or by mailing the postage-paid card. Material and equipment covered hereby which is not manufactured by Seller shall be covered only by the warranty of its manufacturer. It is necessary for Decagon to have your current mailing address and telephone number in case we need to send updated product information to you.
Seller warrants new equipment of its own manufacture against defective workmanship and materials for a period of three years from date of receipt of equipment (the results of ordinary wear and tear. but Seller’s liability for defective parts shall in no event exceed the furnishing of replacement parts F. the factory where originally manufactured.
but without limitation.
. implied. or replacement of said material and equipment. use. nonuse. operation. repair. statutory or otherwise (including. or out of the use of any method or process for which the same may be employed. not expressly set forth herein. express.AquaLab Introduction
anticipated profits). There are no understandings. the implied warranties of merchantability and fitness for a particular purpose). representations. or warranties of any kind. misuse. occasioned by or arising out of the installation. The use of this equipment constitutes Buyer’s acceptance of the terms set forth in this warranty.
within a substance. uses thermoelectric (Peltier) components to maintain internal temperature. providing ±0. The concept of water activity is of particular importance in deter5
AquaLab and water activity Water activity (aw) is a measurement of the energy status
of the water in a system.
AquaLab Models and Options
AquaLab comes in two models to suit the needs of different users. Water activity is the relative humidity of air in equilibrium with a sample in a sealed measurement chamber. Its readings are precise.003 accuracy. The instrument is easy to clean and checking calibration is simple. Here is a brief description of each: Series 3: Our standard model. It indicates how tightly water is “bound”. Series 3TE: User-selectable internal temperature control model. adequate for most water activity needs.AquaLab About AquaLab
2. About AquaLab
AquaLab is the fastest instrument for measuring water activity. structurally or chemically. giving readings in five minutes or less.
the sample is equilibrated with the headspace of a sealed chamber that contains a mirror and a means of detecting condensation on the mirror. flavor. the mirror temperature is precisely controlled by a thermoelectric (Peltier) cooler. and physical properties. The final water activity and temperature of the sample is then displayed. odor.
How AquaLab works
AquaLab uses the chilled-mirror dewpoint technique to measure the aw of a sample.AquaLab About AquaLab
mining product quality and safety. titled “Theory: Water Activity of Products” of this manual. the relative humidity of the air in the chamber is the same as the water activity of the sample. It predicts safety and stability with respect to microbial growth. Water activity influences color.
. The photodetector senses the change in reflectance when condensation occurs on the mirror. A thermocouple attached to the mirror then records the temperature at which condensation occurs. texture and shelf-life of many products. For a more detailed description of water activity as it pertains to products. In an instrument that uses the dewpoint technique. AquaLab then signals you by flashing a green LED and/or beeping. chemical and biochemical reaction rates. In the AquaLab. Detection of the exact point at which condensation first appears on the mirror is observed with a photoelectric cell. please refer to Chapter 9. A beam of light is directed onto the mirror and reflected into a photodetector cell. At equilibrium.
the need for complete thermal equilibrium is eliminated. temperature control is unnecessary for most applications with AquaLab. which reduces measurement times to less than five minutes. AquaLab is ideal for the measurement of samples at room temperature. there are some instances where it is desired. samples that are not at room temperature during the read cycle will equilibrate to the temperature of AquaLab before the aw is displayed. you can access a sample equilibration screen at the main menu that can shows the difference in temperature between the sample and chamber block (see chapter 4). To better help you control the temperature difference between your sample and the instrument. Though temperature control is usually unnecessary for most applications. Decagon offers a temperature7
. Thus. Large temperature differences will cause longer reading times. AquaLab uses an internal fan that circulates the air within the sample chamber to reduce equilibrium time.002 per degree Celsius.AquaLab About AquaLab
In addition to the technique described above. However. For this reason. Since both dewpoint and sample surface temperatures are simultaneously measured.
AquaLab and Temperature
For the reasons noted above. since a complete and accurate reading will not be made until the sample and the instrument are within 2 degrees of each other. The change in aw due to temperature change for most materials is less than 0.
Research purposes. Such variations in ambient temperatures are uncommon. packaging. As stated above. if your lab temperature varies to this degree and you require better than 0. you may want a temperature-
.01aw precision. so there may be no need for temperature control.AquaLab About AquaLab
controlled AquaLab model: the Series 3TE. The most common specification is 25°C. However. comparison of the aw of different samples independent of temperature. some regulations require measurement at a specific temperature.01aw. 2. water activity readings will vary less than ± 0. There are several advantages in having a temperature-controlled model. accelerated shelf-life studies or other water activity studies where temperature control is critical. There are many shelf-life. 3. though 20°C is sometimes indicated. Though the aw of most products varies by less than ± 0. To minimize extreme ambient temperature fluctuations. If the laboratory and AquaLab temperatures fluctuate by as much as ± 5°C daily. To study the effects of temperature on the aw of a sample. To comply with government or internal regulations for specific products. this much uncertainty in sample aw is sometimes acceptable. and isotherm studies in which the added feature of temperature control would be very beneficial.002 per °C. Here are a few major reasons: 1.
. The extent of the effect is both concentration. contact Decagon for information on upgrading your system. If your application meets the criteria listed above. Not all volatiles react this way. Therefore. The 3TE has an extra option in the System configuration menu (see chapter 3) that allows the user to set the temperature. but it is important to note that some volatiles can affect the performance of your instrument. If you already own a Series 3 model and wish to utilize the temperature-control options of the Series 3TE. you may want to use the Series 3TE. if your sample contains propylene glycol or a high concentration of other volatiles.AquaLab About AquaLab
controlled model. which can cocondense on the surface of the chilled mirror.
AquaLab’s only major limitation is its ability to accurately measure samples with high concentrations of certain volatiles such as ethanol or propylene glycol.and matrixdependent. thus. just because a product contains some ethanol or proplylene glycol does not necessarily mean the readings will be erroneous. it is still possible to make accurate readings. Here is a description of the AquaLab Series 3TE:
Series 3TE The AquaLab Series 3TE is an AquaLab that has thermoelectric components installed that allow the instrument to maintain a set chamber temperature.
AquaLab About AquaLab
to Chapter 6’s section titled ”Propylene Glycol” or call Decagon for more details.
AquaLab About AquaLab
LED indicator light Function Keys
LCD Sample drawer
Front view of AquaLab
Lid thumb-screw Fan RS-232 interface
Power cord Plug ON/OFF Switch
Back view of AquaLab
760 aw 6.500 aw 8.0 molal NaCl 0.5 molal KCl 0. Getting Started
Components of your AquaLab
Your AquaLab should have been shipped with the following items: • • • • • • • • AquaLab water activity meter Power cord RS-232 interface cable 100 disposable sample cups Operator’s Manual Quick Start guide Cleaning Kit 3 vials each of the following verification solutions: 0.250 aw 13.984 aw 0.57 molal LiCl 0.41 molal LiCl
.AquaLab Getting Started
This location should be well away from air conditioner and heater vents. plug the power cord to the back of the unit. Before turning it on. and to avoid inaccurate readings. place it on a level surface. This reduces the chance that sample material will spill and contaminate the inside of the instrument.0
. open windows. The following screens will appear on the LCD (model Series 3TE used here as an example):
AQUALAB TE Series 3B
v 3. An empty disposable sample cup is usually placed upside-down in the drawer to protect it during shipment. outside doors. To protect the internal electrical components. or other items that may cause rapid temperature fluctuation.AquaLab Getting Started
Choosing a Location
To ensure that your AquaLab operates correctly and consistently. The ON/OFF switch is located on the lower right corner of the AquaLab’s back panel.
Preparing AquaLab for Operation
After finding a good location for your AquaLab. refrigerator exhausts. Remove this sample cup and turn the instrument on. place your AquaLab in a location where the temperature remains fairly stable. pull open the sample drawer (turn the knob to the “OPEN/LOAD” position).
0. displaying the water activity (aw) on the top left portion of the screen. see Chapter 4. your AquaLab should ideally be allowed a warm-up period of at least 15 minutes after turning it on.000 aw
0. We periodically update the code and add new features.0 °C
This is the main menu. so if your AquaLab shows a version number higher than this.AquaLab Getting Started
(Note: the “v.0” shown the above illustration is an example showing the version of operating code used in the instrument.
. For instructions on how to adjust the temperature setpoint in the TE models. don’t be alarmed.3. and the sample temperature in the lower right. In order to provide the most accurate readings. The Series 3TE model allows you to equilibrate the sensor block and drawer assembly to a set temperature. This allows the air inside the AquaLab to equilibrate to the temperature of its surroundings.
Each button performs a different function. On each side of the LCD there are two buttons. As mentioned earlier. refer to Chapter 13 for troubleshooting instructions. and the buttons used to set them. If this screen doesn’t appear.000 aw
0. Following is a description of the modes and options you may use. it will come to this screen.000 aw
4. The Menus
The Main Menu
0. the water activity and sample temperature are displayed on the screen.0 °C
temperature equilibration screen
diagram of button options from main menu
continuous/normal mode language selection
Each time you turn on your AquaLab.
You will see the following screen:
English -exitPress the upper right key again. you can change it to one of a variety of other languages: German. and the next language option (German) will appear:
Deutsch -zurückEach time you press the right button. Here is a brief summary of the normal sampling
. Polish or Finnish. Norwegian. the display will scroll to the next language option. then press the lower left button to exit. French. Spanish. Portuguese. Danish. it will be in normal sampling mode. If you prefer not to use English.
Normal sampling mode
The first time you turn on the AquaLab. Italian. the sample is measured once. Swedish. This is done simply by pressing the upper right button of the instrument while the drawer knob is in the OPEN/ LOAD position. Czech. In this mode. Japanese. Select the desired language.AquaLab Menus
The AquaLab comes to you with English as the default on-screen user language. after which the instrument notifies you that it is finished.
the “c” will disap17
. display the water activity and sample temperature. if it is enabled. To toggle between the normal and continuous modes.AquaLab Menus
mode features: • • single sampling (not continuous). instrument may or may not beep after measurement is made.000 aw
0. Between samples. accompanied by the beeper. press the top left button. then begin another read cycle without turning the knob or breaking the seal of the cup. (Factory default is 4 beeps) green LED blinks until you open the sample drawer.
Continuous mode reads your sample continuously until you turn the knob to the OPEN/LOAD position. it will signal you with the green LED flash. The display will show a small “c” to the left of the water activity readings:
“c” for continuous mode
0. It will read the sample. depending on how it is set up.0 °C
main menu with continuous mode enabled If you press the upper left button again.
If you press the bottom left button while in the main menu.0 °C
system configuration menu button
This menu allows you to make minor system changes.Tb = 0.1 Ts .000 aw
0. it will bring you to the system configuration menu.
Temperature Equilibration Screen
To see the temperature difference between your sample and the AquaLab. The following screen will appear:
Ts = 23. This screen can only be accessed when the drawer knob is in the OPEN/LOAD position. which may cause condensation inside the chamber.
pear and you will be back in normal sampling mode.125
This screen shows the temperature difference between the sample (Ts) and the chamber block (Tb). press the lower right button at the main menu. allowing you to quickly check if the sample is too hot. Press the lower right button to exit.
enter the linear offset adjustment menu. located on the left front corner of the AquaLab’s case. when a sample is started. You cannot turn off or change the LED flashing functions. the LED will flash once. set (TE model only)
Changing the beeper When you are sampling. represented by three
. In normal sampling mode. and adjust the temperature setpoint (TE model only) from this menu. the AquaLab has two ways of notifying you that the water activity reading is complete: the beeper and a flashing green LED.
Beeper Icon Beeper Linear offset menu Mode indicator (continuous shown)
-ExitSystem configuration menu
+ set T
can change the beeper signal after each sample. and when it is finished it will flash continuously until the knob is moved to the OPEN/LOAD position (if not operating in continuous mode).
There are three beeper options.
Beeps four times. it will remain as you have set it until you change it again. Adjusting for linear offset When you need to adjust for linear offset. Series 3TE menu If you have an AquaLab Series 3TE. press the upper right button in the system configuration menu. then stops. please refer to the next chapter. After you have adjusted the beeper setting. and you will be brought to the linear offset menu. you have the ability to manually set your AquaLab’s sample chamber tempera20
. For more details on linear offset and how to verify for it.
definition of beeper icons The beeper can be turned off completely.AquaLab Menus
No beeping. Beeps until drawer is opened. or it can beep continuously until the knob is turned to the OPEN/LOAD position.
EXIT You may press the EXIT button (the lower left button) to exit back to the main menu at any time. it can beep momentarily when the sample is finished and then stop. and will not be affected by turning the instrument on or off.
At this point.0 Adjusting the Setpoint Temperature Use the buttons next to the + and .button after you reach 15.1°C. Note:
. then begin measurements to see how close your AquaLab comes to your desired temperature (this works best by putting the AquaLab in continuous mode).1°C. Therefore. If you press the . The following screen will appear:
0 Adjust setpoint + -Exit25. Note: Holding down the button for 2 seconds will scroll the values. To access this menu.1°. it should show consistent temperature readings. adjust the setpoint to the temperature that you want. displaying “off ” until you raise the index number again.buttons to adjust the target setpoint temperature (displayed in the lower right corner). it will disable the temperature control function. make any needed adjustment to the setpoint index number to reach your desired temperature. and then the lower right button next to the “set T” in the system configuration menu.AquaLab Menus
ture. The target setpoint temperature roughly corresponds to the temperature at which you wish the chamber to read. After several samples. You will be able to adjust the index number between 50° and 15. press the lower left button in the main menu. If you press either button it adjusts in increments of 0.
before the words “Adjust Setpoint” there is a number (default is 0). or 2. wait for approximately 30 minutes to let the chamber’s temperature to stabilize after turning it on. and 2 requires it to be within 1/2 of a degree. disable the temperature control feature and place the entire instrument into a temperature-controlled chamber. The AquaLab may have a difficult time measuring the temperature of a sample that is being cooled if the ambient temperature is high.
. 1. Important tips with the Series 3TE • Before sampling. Note: If the equlibrium level is set to 0. This number sets the level of temperature equilibration desired after the knob is turned to the READ position and before the AquaLab begins to make measurements. Setting Temperature Equilibration Time In the upper left corner. but you will not get a final reading until the temperature has stabilized enough for the instrument to make an accurate final value. This value can be one of three integers: 0. A setting of 0 begins measurement immediately (as long as sample is not above 4°C of block temperature). 1 requires it to be within 1 degree. and is adjusted by pressing the upper left button. the AquaLab will begin taking readings when the temperature is within 4 degrees.AquaLab Menus
To make aw measurements at temperatures below 15°C.
Therefore. causing errors. Never place a hot or warm sample in a cooled chamber. because condensation will form inside the chamber.AquaLab Menus
When changing samples. the opening and closing of the drawer may cause the temperature in the chamber to fluctuate.
. make sure to take more than one reading per sample to ensure that the temperature and aw are stable between readings.
When this occurs. it is important to check for linear offset periodically. no calibration is necessary. These changes are usually the result of chamber contamination. Linear Offset and Verification Standards
What is Linear Offset?
AquaLab uses the chilled mirror dewpoint technique for measuring water activity.” Therefore. Because this is a primary measurement method of relative humidity. This is what is called a “linear offset. it changes the accuracy of your readings.AquaLab Linear Offset and Verification Standards
. The components that the instrument uses to measure aw are subject to changes that may affect AquaLab’s performance. frequent linear offset verification can assure you that your AquaLab is performing correctly.
Verification standards are specially prepared salt solutions that have a specific molality and water activity that is constant and accurately measurable. Linear offset can be checked by using a salt solution and distilled water. The verification standards that were sent with your initial shipment are very accurate and readily available from Decagon Devices. however.
we recommend using the standards provided by Decagon for the most accurate verification of your AquaLab’s performance.57m LiCl 13.000 ±0. refer to Appendix A. Because of these reasons. The standards are produced under a strict quality assurance regime.5m KCl 6.984.003 0. Verification Standard @25°C Distilled Water 0. If for some reason you cannot obtain Decagon’s verification standards and need to make a saturated salt slush for verification.003
See Appendix B for water activity values for these standards at different temperatures.003 0.760.760 ±0.250 aw. 0.500.0m NaCl 8.250 ±0. they greatly reduce preparation errors. Most importantly. 0.
.41m LiCl Water Activity 1. The accuracy of the standards is verified by an independent third party and are shelf stable for one year. 0.000. Performance Verification Standards come in four water activity levels: 1.003 0.AquaLab Linear Offset and Verification Standards
These particular standards are accurate and easy to use. and 0.984 ±0.500 ±0.003 0.
. 2. It is also a good idea to check the offset with a standard of similar aw when the general water activity range of your sample is changing. Choose a verification standard that is close to the aw of the sample you are measuring. either once per shift or before each use. For batch processing. Empty the whole vial of solution into a sample cup and place it in the AquaLab’s sample drawer. Linear offset should never be verified solely against distilled water. since it does not give an accurate representation of the linear offset. and that your AquaLab has warmed up long enough to make accurate readings. do the following: 1. Checking the aw of a standard solution will alert you to the possibility of contamination of the unit or shifts in the linear offset from other causes.
How to Verify and Adjust for Linear Offset
To verify for linear offset of your AquaLab. the instrument should be checked regularly against a known standard of similar aw. Make sure that your standard is at ambient temperature (or the instrument set temperature for TE models) before you load it into the sample drawer.AquaLab Linear Offset and Verification Standards
When to Verify for Linear Offset
Linear offset should be checked against a known verification standard daily.
repeat these instructions. prepare a sample cup half full of steam-distilled water or a second verification salt and make two readings—the first reading may be low. 6. Once you are certain that a linear offset has occurred.003 of the salt solution. The second aw reading for distilled water should be 1. Turn the drawer knob to the READ position to make an aw reading. See Appendix B for the correct water activity value for standards at temperatures other than 25°C.
.000 ±0. 4. Make two readings. For cleaning instructions. Carefully slide the drawer closed. being especially careful so the solution won’t splash or spill and contaminate the chamber.003 of the given value for your salt solution. The aw readings should be within ± 0. adjust the reading on the salt solution to its correct value.003.003. a linear offset has probably occurred. This is done by the following:
Adjusting for linear offset
1. If your AquaLab is reading within ±0. After cleaning. In this case.AquaLab Linear Offset and Verification Standards
3. see Chapter 10. it is probably due to contamination of the sensor chamber. If your salt reading is correct and your distilled water reading is not. 5. If you consistently get readings that are outside of the aw of your salt solution by more than ±0.
2. Before you begin sampling. press the button next to “yes. Each of the verification standards supplied by Decagon has its aw labeled. Refer to Appendix B for a table of correct aw values at different temperatures. If you wish to continue.” To return to the main menu. and that your AquaLab has warmed up long enough to make accurate readings. press the button next to “no. Press the upper right button in the system configuration menu to enter the linear offset menu.AquaLab Linear Offset and Verification Standards
choose a verification standard that is close to the aw of the sample you are measuring. Enter the system configuration menu by pressing the lower left button in the main menu.” After selecting “yes.” the following screen will appear:
place standard in drawer and read
. make sure that your standard is at ambient temperature before you load it into the sample drawer. The following screen will appear:
Change the offset? yes no
3. You will be guided through the linear offset routine.
Carefully slide the drawer closed. When it is at the value you want.AquaLab Linear Offset and Verification Standards
4. Turn the drawer knob to the READ position to make an aw reading. 5. At this screen. it will bring you to the following screen:
0. the lower right button to move it down. After it has finished sampling the verification standard. 6.760 exit
adjust + -
use these buttons to adjust the value
7. being especially careful so the solution won’t splash or spill and contaminate the chamber. Empty the whole vial of solution into a sample cup and place it in the AquaLab’s sample drawer. just return the knob to the OPEN/LOAD position and you will be returned to the main screen. Note: This is the only menu where these buttons can change the lin29
. press the Exit button. adjust the water activity value to its proper value for the particular solution you are measuring. Note: If you decide at this point not to continue with the linear offset program. The value will be stored. Press the upper right button to move the value up.
you still are getting incorrect readings when reading verification standards. resume sampling.000.
. Distilled water should be within ±0. Re-measure the sample of your verification standards again in the normal sampling mode. 10. 9. Prepare and read a sample of distilled water or second verification standard. It should read the proper value at a given temperature for your particular standard (see Appendix B). 8. contact Decagon at 509-332-2756 (1-800-755-2751 in US and Canada) for further instructions. If the water activity value of distilled water is correct. after adjusting for linear offset and cleaning the chamber.003 of 1. Read it twice.AquaLab Linear Offset and Verification Standards
ear offset. so you won’t hurt anything by pressing these buttons in other menus. If.
.AquaLab Linear Offset and Verification Standards
Measure Verification Standard Correct Measure dH2O or 2nd Verification Standard Correct Not Correct
Adjust for Offset
Not Correct Clean
OK to Sample
This flowchart is a graphical representation of the directions given above for checking for linear offset.
Careful preparation and loading of samples will lengthen time between cleanings and will help you avoid cleaning and downtime. completely covering the bottom of the cup. Make sure that the sample to be measured is homogeneous. Place the sample in a disposable sample cup.
Preparing the Sample
To prepare a sample. Measuring the aw of these types of product is discussed in detail later in this chapter (see Materials Needing Special Preparation). AquaLab may take more than five minutes to give an accurate reading. muffins with raisins) or samples that have outside coatings (like deep-fried. AquaLab is able to accurately measure a sample
. but may take longer to equilibrate. if possible. For samples like these. breaded foods) can be measured.. Sample Preparation
Your AquaLab will continually provide accurate water activity measurements as long as its internal sensors are not contaminated by improperly-prepared samples. 2. or may require multiple readings of the same sample. follow these steps: 1.AquaLab Sample Preparation
6. Multi-component samples (e.g.
There only needs to be enough sample in the cup to allow the water in the sample to equilibrate with the water in the vapor phase and not change the moisture content of the sample. For example. Make sure that the rim and outside of the sample cup are clean.
. Material left on the rim or the outside of the cup will contaminate the sensor chamber and be transferred to subsequent samples. Overfilled cups will contaminate the sensors in the sensor chamber! Filling the sample cup will not make the readings faster or more accurate. therefore. Do not fill the sample cup more than half full. covering the bottom of the sample cup is normally enough. There is a minimum amount of sample needed. The rim of the cup forms a vapor seal with the sensor block when the drawer knob is turned to the READ position. any sample material left on the cup rim will be transferred to the block. raisins only need to be placed in the cup and not flattened to cover the bottom. Wipe any excess sample material from the rim of the cup with a clean tissue. 3. preventing this seal and contaminating future samples.AquaLab Sample Preparation
that does not (or cannot) cover the bottom of the cup. 4. A larger sample surface area increases instrument efficiency by providing more stable infrared sample temperatures. It also speeds up the reading by shortening the time needed to reach vapor equilibrium. Therefore.
take a reading and see how long it takes to find the water activity. It is necessary to seal the cup if it will be a long time before the measurement is made. however. accurate readings. seal the lid by placing tape or Parafilm completely around the cup/lid junction. because it takes longer for them to equilibrate.
Samples Needing Special Preparation
AquaLab reads most materials in less than five minutes. If the verification standard also takes longer than six minutes to sample. These materials need additional preparation to ensure quick.
Coated and Dried Samples Samples with coatings such as sugar or fat often require longer reading times. due to the nature of the material you are sampling. For long-term storage. remove the sample and take a reading of a verification standard.AquaLab Sample Preparation
5. don’t worry
. To find out whether special sample preparation is necessary. refer to Chapter 12 of this manual for more information. If this is the case for your samples. and that there is not a problem with your instrument. Some samples. If it takes longer than six minutes. If a sample will be read at some other time. depending on which mode you are operating in. put the sample cup’s disposable lid on the cup to restrict water transfer. may require longer reading times. This will ensure that the sample itself is causing the long read time.
thus decreasing reading times. so one would need to evaluate which part of the sample needed to be measured before crushing it. whereas leaving the candy whole will give a reading for the coating. or slice your sample.
Slow Water-Emitting Samples Some extremely dry. The aw reading for the center and the outer coating are different. or grind the sample before putting it in the sample cup. This increases the surface area of the sample. due to their moisture sorption characteristics. To reduce the time needed to take an aw reading for coated or dried samples.AquaLab Sample Preparation
that something is wrong with your instrument. and nothing can be
. or glassy compositions may have increased read times. it simply means that your particular sample takes longer than most to equilibrate water with its outside environment. high fat. When the candy is crushed. the aw will represent the average water activity of the entire sample. however. be consistent in the method you use in order to obtain reproducible results. grind. Note: if you crush. dehydrated. slice. one thing you can do is crush. that modifying some samples may alter their aw readings. AquaLab may require up to ten minutes to reach an accurate measurement of aw. Keep in mind. For example. which may act as a barrier to the center. highly viscous water-inoil (butter). for example. a candy may have a soft chocolate center and a hard outer coating.
As another solution. Decagon offers a special sample block designed for measuring volatiles such as propylene
. This causes the sample to release water to the vapor phase and equilibrate with the chamber. it is important to have the water activity of the chamber at or below the water activity of these type of samples. the first reading will be accurate.
Propylene Glycol AquaLab will give accurate readings on most alcohols. You can clean the propylene glycol out of the chamber by running a sample of the activated charcoal (included as part of the AquaLab cleaning kit) after each propylene glycol-bearing sample. However. but it does not evaporate from the mirror as water does. a long period of time will be required to reach equilibrium and the aw of the sample may be affected. As a result.AquaLab Sample Preparation
done to decrease the reading times of these types of samples. Once you have finished sampling. but subsequent readings will not unless the propylene glycol is cleared out of the chamber after each reading. samples with propylene glycol in concentrations higher than 10% will give inaccurate aw values for consecutive samples. clean the chamber to make sure all residue is eliminated (see Chapter 10). For faster reading. This is because propylene glycol condenses on the mirror during the reading process. If the water activity of the headspace is greater than this type of sample.
Contact Decagon for more details about this accessory.7 °C
This screen indicates that the last water activity reading the AquaLab measured on this sample was 0. The only difference in operation is a lower accuracy of ±0.AquaLab Sample Preparation
glycol and ethanol. Samples with such low aw values are rare. For example. the AquaLab will sense that the Volatiles Block is attached. When it is installed.031
24. including measurement times and adjusting for linear offset. Therefore. and will make measurements accordingly.01 aw.7° C. your AquaLab will display an error message indicating the last reading it could make on that particular sample. When a sample’s aw value is below its ability to accurately measure.
Low Water Activity Samples that have an aw of less than about 0.031 at 24. The Volatiles Sensor Block attaches and operates in a similar manner as the chilled-mirror dewpoint block that is currently in your AquaLab.
. say you are measuring a dry sample and the following screen appears:
aw < 0. All other operations and features will be the same. the actual water activity of the sample is lower than the instrument’s components can measure.03 cannot be
accurately measured with the normal AquaLab Series 3 model.
The sample temperature must be within one or two degrees of the chamber temperature before fast. immediately remove the sample from the instrument. which will adversely affect subsequent readings. A warning message appears (Sample too hot) if the sample temperature is more than 4° C above chamber temperature. Rapid changes in temperature over short periods of time will cause the aw readings to rise or fall until the temperature stabilizes. you can proceed with normal measurements. refer to Chapter 12 for other possible explanations. Samples that are lower than 4° C of the instrument’s temperature will cause long read times. accurate readings can be made.
. When the temperature stabilizes within one or two degrees of the chamber temperature. Refer to Chapter 12 for additional information.
High-water activity samples that are warmer than the chamber temperature can cause condensation inside the measuring chamber.AquaLab Sample Preparation
If your sample is not extremely dry but is still getting the error message. If this message appears. place a lid on the cup.
Samples not at Room Temperature Samples that are 4 degrees colder or warmer than the instrument (chamber) temperature will need to equilibrate to ambient temperature before a fast. and allow the sample to cool to within 4° C of the instrument before measuring. accurate reading can be made.
Turn the sample drawer knob to the OPEN/LOAD position and pull the drawer open. an over-filled sample cup may contaminate the chamber’s sensors). being especially careful if you have a liquid sample that may splash or spill and contaminate the chamber. 3.AquaLab Taking a Reading
7. Check the top lip of the cup to make sure it is free from sample residue (remember. you are ready to take readings. Turn the sample drawer knob to the READ position to seal the sample cup with the chamber. 2. Taking a Reading
Once you have prepared your sample. The process is simple: 1. 4. The following screen will appear:
chamber sealed measurement started
. Carefully slide the drawer closed. Place your prepared sample in the drawer.
. The instrument crosses the dew threshold numerous times to ensure the accuracy of readings. the first aw measurement will be displayed on the LCD. and other properties of your sample. When the instrument has finished its read cycle. the aw is displayed.125
Note: Samples that have a large difference in aw from previous samples may need extra time to reach equilibrium.0005 of each other. accompanied by the LED flash and beeper (if you have the beeper enabled). Length of read times may vary depending on temperature differences between the chamber and your sample.1 Ts . For TE models: If you have the temperature equilibrium menu set at 1 or 2.AquaLab Taking a Reading
This will start the read cycle. then an equilbration screen appears:
Ts = 23.Tb = 0. In about 40 seconds. since some of the previous sample’s atmosphere stays in the chamber after measurement.
How AquaLab takes Readings
AquaLab’s reading cycle continues until the rate of change of three consecutive readings are less than 0.
AquaLab Taking a Reading
• Never leave a sample in your AquaLab after a reading has been taken. The sample may spill and contaminate the instrument’s chamber if the instrument is accidentally moved or jolted. Never try to move your instrument after a sample has been loaded. Movement may cause the sample material to spill and contaminate the sample chamber. Take special care not to move the sample drawer too quickly when loading or unloading liquid samples, in order to avoid spilling. If a sample has a temperature that is four degrees higher (or more) than the AquaLab’s chamber, the instrument will display:
sample too hot
alerting you to cool the sample before reading. Although the instrument will measure warmer samples, the readings may be inaccurate. Warm samples can cause condensation in the chamber if they have a high water activity. • The physical temperature of the instrument
AquaLab Taking a Reading
should be between 5°- 43°C. Between these ambient temperatures, AquaLab will measure samples of similar temperature quickly and accurately. The AquaLab Series 3TE has temperature control capabilities that enable it to read samples at temperatures different from ambient temperature, but no higher than 43°C. • If you are sampling and a triangular warning symbol appears in the top right corner, this indicates
that the mirror has become too dirty to give accurate measurements, and you need to clean the mirror and chamber before continuing to sample. For more details about this symbol, please refer to Chapter 12. For cleaning instructions, refer to Chapter 10. • If a sample has an aw lower than about 0.03, AquaLab will display a message, accompanied by the flashing light, notifying you that your sample is too dry to be accurately measured by the AquaLab. Following is an example:
aw < 0.031
AquaLab Taking a Reading
This message will stay on the screen until you open the sample drawer. If you know that your sample’s water activity is above what the screen is telling you, your instrument’s sensors may have been contaminated and will need to be cleaned (see Chapter 10) or serviced (see Chapter 11).
If you are interested in purchasing a copy of AquaLink.
An optional program that is available for use with your AquaLab is AquaLink. AquaLink is a Windows-based program designed for collection and graphing of data from all AquaLab models. time of measurement. temperature. Computer Interface
Your AquaLab was shipped to you with a standard RS-232 interface cable. Using this.AquaLab Computer Interface
8. Here is a sample picture of the AquaLink program:
. contact Decagon or your authorized distributor. AquaLink takes the data and displays it in a real-time graph. It logs water activity. you can use your computer’s terminal program to send water activity data to your computer for further analysis and storage. and a time and date stamp (from your computer's clock). You can control the increments of each axis to customize the graph as you wish. It also has sample identification and comments fields that you can use to help annotate the data that your AquaLab is taking.
Press the Start button and select Programs > Accessories > Hyperterminal and click on the Hyperterminal icon. In future downloads. choose a name for this program (AquaLab is a good one) and choose an arbitrary icon above to represent it. you will be able to click on this icon in have it already set up for you to download. follow these steps: 1. At the prompt. Click the OK button.AquaLab Computer Interface
Using Windows Hyperterminal
To use Hyperterminal with your AquaLab. 2.
9600. Click OK. go into the Transfers menu and select “Capture text. and aw. It will be output in the following format: time (since chamber was closed). Here is an example:
time since temp chamber was (°C) closed
. A pop-up menu labeled “COM Properties” will appear.1. 5. To save the data. Begin sampling. Plug your RS-232 cable to the COM port you selected and connect it to your AquaLab. A pop-up menu labeled “Connect To” will appear. Click on the scroll bar on the bottom of the screen labeled “Connect Using” and select the COM Port your RS-232 cable is connected to.AquaLab Computer Interface
3. 8 databits. 0. 1 stop bit. 24. When you are finished sampling. 4. or cut and paste it to a spreadsheet or text editor. you can print the data in the terminal session. and flow control set to hardware.862
6.” and designate where it should be saved. Make sure the settings are the following: Bits per second.3. sample temperature. no parity. AquaLab’s data will be displayed on screen as it samples. showing the port settings for the COM port you selected.
The meaning of the term water content is familiar to most people. However. Moisture content determination is essential in meeting product nutritional labeling regulations. specifying recipes and monitoring processes. and thus is a far better indicator of perishabil47
. but secondary methods such as infrared. or Karl Fisher titration are also used. The limitations of water content measurement are attributed to differences in the intensity with which water associates with other components. appearance. water content alone is not a reliable indicator for predicting microbial responses and chemical reactions in materials. and cosmetics. It implies a quantitative analysis to determine the total amount of water present in a sample. taste and spoilage of these products.
Water activity is a measure of the energy status of the water in a system. Theory: Water Activity in Products
Water is a major component of foods. NMR. Water influences the texture. pharmaceuticals. The primary method for determining water content is by loss on drying. There are two basic types of water analysis: water content and water activity.AquaLab Theory
water activity is the best single measure of how water affects these processes.
Fig. The dew point sensor measures the dew point temperature of the air. Inside the sensor block is a fan. and an infrared thermometer. such as nutrient availability and temperature.AquaLab Theory
ity than water content. Figure 1 shows how the relative activity of microorganisms. lipids and enzymes relate to water activity. a dew point sensor. In the AquaLab. 1: Water Activity Diagram—adapted from Labuza Water activity of a system is measured by equilibrating the liquid phase water in the sample with the vapor phase water in the headspace and measuring the relative humidity of the headspace. a temperature sensor. and the infrared thermometer measures the sample tempera48
. While other factors. a sample is placed in a sample cup which is sealed against a sensor block. can affect the relationships.
One must wait a period of time in order for the water to migrate and the system to come to internal equilibrium. the internal equilibrium of the sample is important. one might measure a steady vapor pressure (over the period of measurement) which is not the true water activity of the system. Initially out of the oven.
Effect of Temperature on water activity
Temperature plays a critical role in water activity determinations. the measurement of the headspace humidity gives the water activity of the sample. the outer surface is at a lower water activity than the center of the baked good.AquaLab Theory
ture. The purpose of the fan is to speed equilibrium and to control the boundary layer conductance of the dew point sensor. An example of this might be a baked good or a multi-component food. If a system is not at internal equilibrium. Most critical is the measurement of the difference
. It is important to remember the restriction of the definition of water activity to equilibrium. a baked good is not at internal equilibrium. In addition to equilibrium between the liquid phase water in the sample and the vapor phase. When the water activity of the sample and the relative humidity of the air are in equilibrium. From these measurements the relative humidity of the headspace is computed as the ratio of dew point temperature saturation vapor pressure to saturation vapor pressure at the sample temperature.
and in subsequent measurements until the condensation disappears. A sample that is close to 1.017°C.017°C accuracy is difficult when temperature differences are large. A sample at 0.001. Another effect of temperature on water activity occurs with samples are near saturation. The AquaLab warns the user if a sample is more than 4°C above the chamber temperature. AquaLab’s infrared thermometer measures the difference in temperature between the sample and the block.0 aw and is only slightly warmer than the sensor block will condense water within the block.AquaLab Theory
between sample and dew point temperature.
Some additional information may be useful for understanding what water activity is and why it is such a useful
. It is carefully calibrated to minimize temperature errors. If this temperature difference were in error by 1°C.06 aw could result. Best accuracy is therefore obtained when the sample is near chamber temperature. This will cause errors in the measurement. but achieving 0.75 aw needs to be approximately 4°C above the chamber temperature to cause condensation. In order for water activity measurements to be accurate to 0. but for high water activity samples the operator needs to be aware that condensation can occur if a sample that is warmer than the block is put in the AquaLab. an error of up to 0. temperature difference measurements need to be accurate to 0.
and therefore can not be used to predict the direction of water movement. in an isothermal system. Typically water activity is measured at atmospheric pressure. and pressure effects.
Factors in determining Water Potential
The water potential of the water in a system is influenced by factors that effect the binding of water. except in homogeneous materials. Equilibrium between the liquid and the vapor phases implies that µ is the same in both phases. so only the osmotic and matric effects are important. or chemical potential (µ) of water. water tends to move from regions of high water potential (high aw) to regions of low water potential (low aw). Thus.
Osmotic effects Osmotic effects are well known from biology and physical
measure of moisture status in products. Gradients in µ are driving forces for moisture movement. It is this fact that allows us to measure the water potential of the vapor phase and use that to determine the water potential of the liquid phase. They include osmotic. Equilibrium occurs in a system when µ is the same everywhere in the system. Water content is not a driving force for water movement. which is the change in Gibbs free energy (G) when water concentration changes. matric. Water activity is closely related to a thermodynamic property called the water potential.
Addition of one mole of an ideal solute to a kilogram of water produces an osmotic pressure of 22. decreasing the osmotic pressure. For a given amount of solute. and increasing the water activity. If cellulose or protein were added to water.
Matric effects The sample matrix affects aw by physically binding water within its structure through adhesive and cohesive forces that hold water in pores and capillaries. water tends to move form the pure water side through the membrane to the side with the added solute. Water is diluted when a solute is added.0 to 0. If sufficient pressure is applied to the solutewater mixture to just stop the flow. This lowers the water activity of the solution from 1. and to particle surfaces. the osmotic effect on the free energy of the water is important for determining microbial water relations and therefore their activity.AquaLab Theory
chemistry. this pressure is a measure of the osmotic potential of the solution. the energy status of the water would be reduced. The reduction in energy is the result of direct physical binding
. This reduction in energy status of the water is not osmotic.4 atm. increasing the water content of the systems dilutes the solute.98 aw. Work would need to be done to extract the water from this matrix. If this diluted water is separated from pure water by a semi-permeable membrane. because the cellulose or protein concentrations are far too low to produce any significant dilution of water. Since microbial cells are high concentrations of solute surrounded by semi-permeable membranes.
of water to the cellulose or protein matrix by hydrogen bonding and van der Waal forces. This method gives particularly good precision in the center of the isotherm. This is particularly attractive because water activity is much more quickly measured than water content.
Relating aw to water content Changes in water content affect both the osmotic and matric binding of water in a product. capillary forces and surface tension can also play a role. ideally. In order to infer water content from water activity. using the process that brings the prod53
. one needs an isotherm for the particular product. These factors need to be kept in mind if one tries to use water content to infer the stability or safety of a product. one could easily go the other direction and use the water activity to infer the water content. produced. Typically. Figure 1 shows a typical isotherm. Besides being unique to each product. At higher water activity levels. the isotherm changes depending on whether it was obtained by drying or wetting the sample.
While the sorption isotherm is often used to infer water activity from water content. large safety margins are built in to water content specifications to allow for these uncertainties. Thus a relationship exists between the water activity and water content of a product. and is unique for each product. This relationship is called the sorption isotherm.
the usefulness of water activity in relation to microbial growth. More importantly.
uct to its final water content. and stability over water content has been shown. An isotherm would be constructed using those data. and cosmetics cannot be overly emphasized. The importance of the concept of water activity of foods. For example. Water activity is a measure of the energy status of the water in a system. one would measure the water activity and water content of potato flakes dried to varying degrees using the standard drying process for those flakes. if one were using the AquaLab to monitor the water content of dried potato flakes. and the water content would be inferred using the measured water activity of samples and that isotherm. chemical reactivity. pharmaceuticals.
• • • • thin plastic rod or other non-metal implement Distilled Water Isopropyl Alcohol Lint-free or sizing-free tissues (Kimwipe®) or • AquaLab Cleaning Kit
Note: Kimwipes® are ideal because they don’t leave a lint residue. carefully follow these instructions. like most tissues. Cleaning and Maintenance
The accuracy of your AquaLab is vitally dependent on keeping your instrument clean. never use cotton swabs to clean the block sensors. Most cotton
. To clean your instrument. Also. They also don’t have any other compounds in the tissue that may contaminate the sensors in the AquaLab’s block.AquaLab Cleaning and Maintenance
10. Dust and sampling debris can contaminate the sampling chamber and must therefore be regularly cleaned out.
Remove the case lid screw located on the back panel. Carefully remove the lid by pulling the back of the lid upward and then sliding the lid back (away from the front of the case) and off. Unscrew the two thumbscrews that secure the sensor block. 4. 5.
Cleaning the Block and Sensors
Accessing the Block
1. Turn the power off on your AquaLab (switch in back. Carefully lift the block straight up from its mount. 3. Unplug the cable with the 20-pin socket that attaches the block to the main circuit board by releasing the two locking levers that are on either side of the socket.) 2. Turn the block over to expose the chamber cavity as shown in the illustration:
.AquaLab Cleaning and Maintenance
swabs contain adhesives and other compounds that are released and transferred to the mirror and other surfaces. contaminating them.
First. Wrap 1.5 — 2cm wide strips of Kimwipe around the plastic spatula 3. 2. Finally. and use it to thoroughly
. wrap a new. dry Kimwipe around the spatula. Follow this with a Kimwipe tissue moistened with either Decagon’s cleaning solution or distilled water. Cleaning your AquaLab sensor block is a three-step procedure. Wash hands with soap and water (to prevent oils from contaminating the Kimwipe tissue and being transferred to the mirror).AquaLab Cleaning and Maintenance
chamber fan View of inside block chamber Mirror: 1. clean the sensors and block using an isopropyl alcohol-moistened Kimwipe tissue.
Optical Sensor: You will probably clean the optical sensor while you are cleaning the mirror. The fan blades are very fragile. thermopile and chamber surfaces. This sensor must be free of all dirt. take extra care when cleaning this portion. clean it with isopropanol. smudges. Note: Be extremely careful not to damage the fan blades in the chamber. followed by multiple distilled watermoistened tissues.
. Therefore. Inside Chamber: Clean all other portions of the chamber block with a Kimwipe moistened with distilled water. if one of them breaks. Inside Case: 1. If the thermopile is very dirty. Thermopile Sensor: Clean the thermopile in the same manner as described above for the mirror.AquaLab Cleaning and Maintenance
wipe the cleaning solution from the mirror. Remove any debris that may have collected inside the case. Clean the sample drawer and drawer base. your instrument won’t work properly. and lint for the AquaLab to measure accurately. since they face each other in a very small gap.
Check the response of your instrument by measuring the water activity of both a verification standard and a distilled water sample.
After you have cleaned the chamber and other parts of your AquaLab. 3. Replace the AquaLab case lid and secure the lid screw. Before you check the instrument. Check once more to make sure there is no debris in the sample chamber cavity. it is important to check the instrument’s performance in order to correct for any linear offset that may have occurred during cleaning procedures. we recommend that you run a sample of the activated charcoal pellets that come with your AquaLab cleaning kit. Screw the thumb-screws on the block back in until they are hand-tight. Lock it in place with the locking levers. and insert the ribbon cable socket into to the 20-pin plug on the block.AquaLab Cleaning and Maintenance
2. 6. helping it come back to a stable sampling environment. This cleans the air inside the chamber. 4.
. Plug the AquaLab’s power cord back in. however. Replace the block. 5.
.AquaLab Cleaning and Maintenance
If a linear offset has occurred. refer to chapter 5 for directions on how to correct for linear offset. contact Decagon for technical support. If. after adjusting for linear offset your instrument is still not reading samples correctly.
If your AquaLab ever needs to be sent in for service or repair*.AquaLab Repair Instructions
11. or fax us at (509) 332-5158. *Note: If you purchased your AquaLab from one of our international distributors.
. please contact them before contacting Decagon. and (most importantly) a description of the problem. This information will better help our technicians and our shipping department to expedite repair on your instrument and ship it back to you in good time. For non-warranty repairs. phone number. and serial number.
When you ship your instrument back to us. and billing address. a repair budget. They may be able to provide you with local service and help you remedy the problem. we will also ask for a payment method (such as a purchase order or credit card number). name and department of the person responsible for the instrument. call Decagon at (509) 332-2756 or (US and Canada) 1-800-755-2751. please include with it a document with the complete shipping address. We will ask you for your address.
use a box that has at least 4 inches of space between your instrument and each wall of the box. ship your AquaLab back to us in its original cardboard box with foam inserts. we have plenty here to use with your instrument. phone and fax numbers. Include necessary paperwork so your repair can be processed quickly. Don’t ship your AquaLab to us with the power cord. purchase order. serial number. This should include your name. ATTN: Repair Department 2365 NE Hopkins Court
. 6. address. Tape the box in both directions so it cannot be broken open in shipment. If possible. Put your instrument in a plastic bag to avoid disfiguring marks from the packaging. pack the box moderately tight with packing material. Ship to: Decagon Devices Inc. 5. and a description of the problem.AquaLab Repair Instructions
Following are steps that will help in safely shipping your instrument back to us: 1. If this is not possible. 4. 2. like styrofoam peanuts. 3. If you aren’t using the foam inserts.
They are granted on a “first-come-first-served” basis. a limited number of loaner instruments. For non-warranty repairs. We have a $65 minimum repair charge.
. if requested. WA 99163
Manufacturer’s defects and instruments within the threeyear warranty will be repaired at no cost. Decagon will provide an estimated repair cost. however.
We have loaner instruments that can be provided while your instrument is being serviced. costs for parts. and shipping will be billed to you. There is. An extra fee will be charged for rush work.AquaLab Repair Instructions
Pullman. labor. This service is in place to help you if your AquaLab needs service during critical operations.
Won’t turn on
• Power cord disconnected • Blown fuse
. Unfortunately. see the explanations below the table. For more detailed descriptions of these problems and their solutions. sometimes even the best operators using the best instruments encounter technical difficulties. Troubleshooting
AquaLab is a high performance instrument. contact Decagon at 1-800-755-2751 or (509) 332-2756 (for those not in the US or Canada). or if these remedies still don’t resolve your problem. Table 1: Troubleshooting
Problem Possible Solutions
1. designed to have low maintenance and few problems if used with care. If you have encountered a problem that isn’t addressed here.AquaLab Troubleshooting
12. Here is a list of some problems that may occur.
Problems and Solutions
The following table is a brief guide to help you quickly define solutions to your problems.
• Sample too dry to accurately measure • Dirty chamber or mirror
Table 1: Troubleshooting
Problem Possible Solutions
2. “Sample too hot”
• Sample not in thermal equilibrium with AquaLab. aw readings on verification standards are too high/low to adjust
• Dirty thermopile • Dirty mirror • If using a saturated salt solution. it may not be in equilibrium
4. Long read time
• Dirty sample chamber • Product desorbs slowly • Propylene glycol • Broken chamber fan blade
6.0. Triangle appears in upper right corner
• Mirror is dirty
. “aw < 0...
PROBLEM: AquaLab won’t turn on.25
. Press in on the release tab and pull the fuse-holder out. A power surge may have caused a fuse to blow. Locate the panel where the power cord plugs in. Unplug the power cord from the wall and the instrument. SOLUTION: • Check to make sure your power cord is securely attached the back of the instrument. follow these instructions:
1. and into the power outlet.AquaLab Troubleshooting
Table 1: Troubleshooting
Problem Possible Solutions
7. “Block failure” appears on screen after turning on AquaLab
• Block is disconnected from motherboard • Block memory component has failed
1. Pull the broken fuse(s) out and replace with a 1. 3. 2. The fuse box is on the right side of that panel. To change the fuses.
SOLUTION: • The sample chamber may be dirty. Refer to Chapter 11 of the manual for directions on cleaning the sample chamber. 2. 5. causing measurements to take longer than usual.AquaLab Troubleshooting
Amp 250V fuse. This compound is known to cause unstable readings. Replace the fuse-holder and push it into the fuse-well until the release tab snaps in place. a failed component may be causing the problem. Caution: Do not use any other kind of fuse or you will risk damage to your instrument as well as void your warranty. and nothing can be done to speed up the process. Some products absorb or desorb moisture very slowly. Contact Decagon to make arrangements for repairs. If the fuse blows again. Your sample may contain propylene glycol. Re-connect the power cord and turn your instrument on. PROBLEM: Readings are slow or inconsistent. 4. because it condenses on the surface of the chilled mir67
. Refer to Chapter 6 for further explanation.
contact Decagon for details on replacement. some aromatics may also caused unstable readings. Please refer to the propylene glycol section in chapter 6 for hints on reducing difficulties with measuring samples with propylene glycol. however. This is especially likely if you have just cleaned the chamber. If this seems to be a problem for you. contact Decagon. • A fan blade may be broken inside the block. If even salt standards take a long time to read. and the sample chamber is clean. PROBLEM: Water activity readings on verification standards are too high/low and a linear offset adjustment cannot be made any higher/lower. contact Decagon. Glycerol and other alcohols used to flavor foods can usually be measured without problems. may have become contami-
. SOLUTION: • The thermopile in your chamber. Note: As yet. which measures sample temperature. If you have further questions regarding the measurement of propylene glycol. If you suspect this may have happened. you may have a broken chamber fan blade.AquaLab Troubleshooting
ror and alters readings.
3. propylene glycol is the only volatile know to act unpredictably.
To avoid this problem. very cold samples will take a very long time to measure due to the same reason.
5. make sure to only measure samples that are at the same temperature as the instrument. • The chamber mirror may be dirty. If you weren’t using Decagon’s performance verification standards. high readings may indicate that the salt solution you are using is not in equilibrium. The instrument and sample need to be in temperature equilibrium before accurate samples can be made. Therefore. Refer to Chapter 11 for directions on cleaning. Refer to Chapter 11 for directions on cleaning. PROBLEM:
nated. PROBLEM: Message on screen displays the following:
sample too hot
SOLUTION: • Your sample’s temperature is too high for the instrument to equilibrate with it in a reasonable amount of time.
along with the rest of the sample chamber. PROBLEM: A small triangle appears in the upper right corner after sampling:
0. or a volatile contaminant is interfering with the dewpoint determination.7 °C
The sample is too dry for the instrument to read accurately. The mirror may be dirty.
6. This triangle is a
24. Try cleaning the mirror and chamber and measuring the sample again. Essentially. it means that there is not enough sample moisture to condense on the mirror and provide a reading.7°C
SOLUTION: The mirror needs to be cleaned. If your sample has a water activity that is less than below the detection limits of the instrument.028
24. this message will come up.AquaLab Troubleshooting
Message on screen displays the following (example):
aw < 0.
One or more components has failed on the
. To see what the mirror performance value is.AquaLab Troubleshooting
mirror performance indicator. At this point. Open the case and check to make sure that the small ribbon cable that connects the block to the motherboard is snapped and locked in place. the mirror is most likely still dirty or a volatile in your sample is contaminating the mirror. you should stop sampling and clean the chamber. Contact Decagon for more assistance. If the triangle is still on the screen after cleaning. it will display the triangular warning sign after the sample has been measured. and it will show you the value. with 1 being the cleanest. The performance of the mirror is measured on a 0 to 1 scale. When the AquaLab senses that the mirror performance has dropped to unacceptable levels. 7. PROBLEM: The following screen comes up after turning on the machine:
SOLUTIONS: • The block is not plugged in to the motherboard. press the upper right button when the triangle appears.
you can access a screen that will display values for component performance. you have reason to believe that one of the components of your AquaLab may be causing measurement error. Decagon cannot be liable for errors in reading that may occur. after cleaning your instrument and reading the other troubleshooting hints. After it initializes. If you press -exit.
Component Performance Screen
If. The top left value is the value the thermocouple is reading. If this message appears and you continue to sample. If the block is properly plugged in to the motherboard and this message appears. It is basically the differ72
. Contact Decagon for a solution to this problem.AquaLab Troubleshooting
block’s circuit board.5
This screen gives you four values. which will lead to incorrect readings. it is likely that one or more of the components have failed on the block’s circuit board. or by pressing the upper left button while in the linear offset adjustment main menu (Change linear offset? Y/N).at this prompt. the following screen will appear:
3. This is done either by holding down the lower right button while turning on the instrument. the instrument will not have values for the component that has failed.21 23.
This value should be around ambient temperature.AquaLab Troubleshooting
ence in temperature between the block and the mirror. but will change when you change the drawer position. and should be steady. It should typically have a value of 3. ±0.3. in units of millivolts. This value should normally be between 400 and 2400mV. Press the button next to -Exit. The top right value is the value read by the thermopile. when reading). If this is zero.
. This value should be around zero. You can’t change anything in this screen. If you notice that any of these values are not what they should be. but it is here to give you an indication of the component performance. which is the temperature difference between the block and what it “sees” below it (the sample. there is something wrong with the thermocouple. contact Decagon for further instruction.to get back to the main menu. The bottom right value is the mirror reflectance voltage. The bottom left value is the block temperature.
T. J. (1980). Lebensmittel-Wissenschaft und-Technologie. 29:77-82. Water activity in foods: Determination methods.. (1975).AquaLab Further Reading
13. Academic Press. L. New York. G. Alimentaria. Greenspan. and S. 81A:89-96. Humidity fixed points of binary saturated aqueous solutions.Physics and Chemistry. (1977). 13:169-173. Water Relations of Foods. R. M. and J. Favetto. (1983). R. The water activity of standard saturated salt solutions in the range of intermediate moisture foods. C. Comparative study of three methods of determining water activity in intermediate moisture foods. 45:91-93. (1992). G. Resnik. Journal of Research of the National Bureau of Standards .C.. Food Chemistry. Gomez-Diaz. Water activity and chemical composition of some food emulsions. Ferro-Fontan. and Fernandez-Salguero J. (1992). R. 16:36-38. Duckworth. Pharm.
. Lebensmittel-Wissenschaft und-Technologie. Cheftel. Chirife. Further Reading
Water Activity Theory and Measurement
Bousquet-Ricard.A. Gómez. Qualyle.
(1991). Roa. (1981). (1990). 24(3):208-213. Lebensmittel-Wissenschaft und-Technologie. pp. Prediction of moisture protection requirements for foods. G. and R. Tapia de Daza. and R. (1976). Measurement of moisture content.P. 10:57-64. Theoretical prediction of the water activity of standard saturated salt solutions at various temperatures. 26(7):335-343. culture media and cheese using a new dew point apparatus. Cereal Foods World. 41:910-917. London.Y.S. 51:1037-1042. Labuza. (1979).R. Contreras-Medellin. G. K.AquaLab Further Reading
Karmas. and J. Davies. Pereira-Jardim.. Measurement of water activity in foods: A review.P. and M. Journal of Food Protection. Evaluation of water activity measurements with a dew point electronic humidity meter. Lee. D. 54-65. Acott. E. R. Prior.. Labuza. (1976).C. Journal of Food Science.P. Water activity determination: A collaborative study of different methods. and T. Birch. Rapid determination of the water activity of some reference solutions. Favetto. Chirife. T. Kitic.L. Tatini.. Resnik. (1981). D. Richard.J.) Applied Science Publishers. Water activity concepts in intermediate moisture foods. S. V. Labuza. Parker (ed.A. Sciences des Aliments.G. 42(8):668674.
. 26(7):332-334. D. and K. S. B. In: Intermediate Moisture Foods. Journal of Food Science. Reid. Cereal Foods World. T.S. (1986). J.
Price. Methods to measure water activity. Estimation of water activity in intermediate moisture foods. Calibration of water activity measuring instruments and devices: Collaborative study. Influence of temperature on the measurement of water activity of food and salt systems. Vanderzant.. Journal of Food Science. pp.. Academic Press.) American Public Health Association. V. K. Scott.D. Food Technology. (1990). Stoloff. 48:552-554.T. and T. Stamp. New York.C. (1983). Measurement of water activity (aw) and acidity.W. 46:129-134. (1975). 61:1166-1178.B. Washington. J. J.A. Journal of Food Science. and D. (1992). and J. C. M. Snavely. J. Christian. In: Compendium of Methods for the Microbiological Examination of Foods. Jun. and V. D.J.H.AquaLab Further Reading
Roos. 16(8):1399-1409. Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy. 135-151. Water Activity and Food. Journal of Food Protection. Troller. Bernard.N. Splittstoesser (ed.P.
. Journal of Association of Official Analytical Chemists. C. 29:26-30.A. (1983). J. Lomauro. (1978).C. Scott. J. and H. Measurement of water activity of salt solutions and foods by several electronic methods as compared to direct vapor pressure measurement.F.A. S.N. L. (1984). and D. 49:1139-1142. (1978).A. Linscott. Troller. A comparison of three equilibrium relative humidity measuring devices. Labuza. Troller.
L. (1985). and G. van den Berg.H. and L. Prediction of water activity in food systems: A review on theoretical models. 34:368-388. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.V. Vos. Voysey. (1981). Vega. In: Water Activity: Influences on Food Quality.) Academic Press.) Plenum Press. (1993). New York. and T. comments and thoughts. pp. P. MacCarthy. Labuza. C. and Bruin. Vega.P. and G. London. 11-35..V.F. Romanach.H. In: Water Relationships in Foods. D. pp. Technique for measurements of water activity in the high aw range. (1991). Digest. M. Microbiology Section. Water activity. Slade (ed. C. Food-water relations: Progress and integration. B. H. New York. Prediction of water activity in food systems: A computer program for predicting water activity in multicomponent foods. Barbosa-Canovas. (1974). 124
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van den Berg.) Elsevier.B. Revista Espanola De Ciencia Y Tecnologia De Alimentos. 1-61. 34:427-440.T. Rockland. C. Water activity and its estimation in food systems: Theoretical aspects. (1994). and G. Levine. van den Berg. P. (1994). 22:326327. An evaluation of the AquaLab CX-2 system for measuring water activity. Revista Espanola De Ciencia Y Tecnologia De Alimentos. (ed. Barbosa-Canovas. Stewart (ed. In: Concentration and Drying of Foods.
E.M. Kress-Rogers. September:41-48. Elseiver Press. (1996). J. F.P. shelf-stable foods. J. (1982). Cereal Foods World. A critical review of some non-equilibrium situations and glass transitions on water activity values of foods in the microbiological growth range. L. T. Hardman. Water and Food Quality. Buera. Food Industry News.AquaLab Further Reading
Food Quality and Safety
Brandt. 59:921-927. September:23-26. Chirife. Water Relationships in
. 27(9):403-407. water glass dynamics. (1996). (1991). (1994). Franks. Food Formulating. 36(5):465-513. Food quality measurement. and M. glass transition and microbial stability in concentrated/ semimoist food systems. (1993). Del-Pilar. March:68-72. Journal of Food Engineering. and B. J. and M. Journal of Food Science. Water activity. (1995). Water activity as a measure of biological viability and quality control. Water activity. London. Chirife. and the control of microbiological growth in foods. (1988). Controlling water activity gives technologists the edge in developing safe. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition. (1991). Bound for success.M. Water activity: a credible measure of food safety and quality? Trends in Food Science and Technology. 25:531-552. Chirife. Buera. Levine. H. Slade. and L. F.P. Franks.
McMeekin.. and T. 33:65-83. Water activity and food polymer science: Implications of state on arrhenius and WLF models in predicting shelf life. Journal of Food Engineering. Chen. (1994). New York. Labuza. (1988). (1994). Breene. Stewart. 26(7):345-349.
..AquaLab Further Reading
Foods. Advances in Cereal Science and Technology. Taoukis.T. Control of water in foods during storage. Mannheim. (1995). L. C. Seafood microorganisms and seafood safety. Gilbert. L. Quah. Journal of Food and Drug Analysis. T. Journal of Food Engineering. 9:91-128. Rockland.H.A. Cereal Foods World.A.B. (1980). 3:133144.X. T. New York.
Water Activity and Microbiology
Beuchat. 34:42-59. W. and T. Food Technology. Nishi. Food Preservation by Moisture Control. (1996). Academic Press.H. (1981). J.F. Rockland. and S. (1988). and S.C. C.B. and C.C. Elsevier. New York. Nelson. L. Intermediate moisture foods. P.K. K.G.R. Labuza. Seow.. (1981).P. Water Activity: Influences on Food Quality. Influence of water activity on food product quality and stability. Microbial stability as affected by water activity. and G. Liu. and T. Plenum Press. Teng. 22:271-289. 22:509-532. International Journal of Food Microbiology. Shelf life prediction: Status and future possibilities. H.P. Ross.
and incubation time on production of aflatoxins and cyclopiazonic acid by an isolate of Aspergillus flavus in surface agar culture. J. and J.. Hocking. Gettinby. Effect of sodium lactate on toxin
. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. J. and S. P. J. Smith.J. F. O. Ordonez. Mycological Research. Effects of temperature. Minimum water activity requirements for the growth of Listeria monocytogenes..AquaLab Further Reading
Farber. Daley. Heuvelink. and B. Goaleni. Water relations of some Zygomycetes isolated from food. Coates. Roberts.I. Hocking. Pitt.A. Water relations of Alternaria alternata. (1994). 98:91-94. and G. Dufrenne. J. (1994). 9:77-82. Garcia de Fernando.. (1997). Predicting fungal growth: The effect of water activity on Aspergillus flavus and related species. Lacey. A. (1994).E. Letters In Applied Microbiology. 15:103-105. 99:1113-1118.. water activity. and J. Notermans.M. Houtsma.F. A. N.. 63:1048-1053.M. M.D. B. (1992). (1995). Pitt.I.D.F.D. G. Mycological Research. Eyles. Curvularia lunata and Curvularia pallescens. (1992). Miscamble. A. M. J. Miscamble. Cladosporium cladosporioides. and T. Gibson. Baranyi. Food Microbiology. 23:419-431. J. A.A. Changes in water activity of selected solid culture media throughout incubation.. and E. International Journal of Food Microbiology. Fernandez.C. Cladosporium sphaerospermum. Diaz.
Keeping microorganisms in control. 56:612-615. International Journal of Food Microbiology.A.A. Journal of the Japanese Society for Food Science and Technology. Journal of Food Protection. Kaminska. and M. M. (1993). M. Water activity relationships for selected mesophiles and psychrotrophs at refrigeration temperature.J. L. Bekers. Nolan. 50:144-146. 40:268-271. Journal of Food Protection. K. 57:327-330. and J. and J. D. (1992).
. Vigants. 55:414-418. D. Influence of water activity and medium osmolality on the growth and acid production of Lactobacillus casei var. August:44-51. E. Troller.. alactosus. (1992). Marauska. Klincare. Effect of pH and water activity on heat resistance of spores of Bacillus coagulans.Y. Combined water activity and solute effects on growth and survival of Listeria monocytogenes Scott A. A. A.A. (1996).A. Chamblin. Moriyama.C..AquaLab Further Reading
production. Proceedings of the Latvian Academy of Sciences Section B Natural Exact and Applied Sciences. Miller. and Y. Upite. spore germination and heat resistance of proteolytic Clostridium botulinum strains. (1993). 16:323-335. Kuntz. D. Minimal water activity levels for growth and survival of Listeria monocytogenes and Listeria innocua. Li. Nakajo. A. Food Product Design. Journal of Food Protection. (1992). Torres.
19:76-78. aw and pH on the growth of Bacillus cells and spore: A response surface methodology study. (1991). Y. Minimum water activ82
. and Saccharomyces cerevisiae. K. 147:61-64.S. and T. M. Parolari.AquaLab Further Reading
Petersson. Schnuerer. Journal of Food Protection. Garcia-Lopez. 19:207-216.C. Tapia de Daza. Minimum water activity for the growth of Aeromonas hydrophila as affected by strain. Otero. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 58:86-90. Water relations of Aspergillus flavus and closely related species. Pichia guilliermondii. (1995). Aspergillus repens and Aspergillus amstelodami.M. (1994). M. Villegas. and A.I. Pitt. and B. M. Biocontrol of mold growth in high-moisture wheat stored under airtight conditions by Pichia anomala. (1992). Zentralblatt Fuer Mikrobiologie. S.. Miscamble. Ishitani. temperature and humectant. and J. R. J. Effect of water activity on growth and lipids of xerophilic fungi. Effects of temperature.. Saad. (1991). Minimal water activity for growth of Listeria monocytogenes as affected by solute and temperature. Lopez-Diaz. and G. 61:1027-1032. S. 14:333-338.F. Letters In Applied Microbiology. (1995). Santos. Tokuoka. and A. Quintavalla. International Journal of Food Microbiology. International Journal of Food Microbiology. (1993). T.R. Martinez. J.L. Garcia-Fernandez.
L. 37:111-119. Survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in broth and processed salami as influenced by pH. (1994). (1996). J. Vanderlinde.A. Clavero. 20:37-46. Journal of Food Protection.. T. De-Wit. M.H.H. water activity. M.S.R. salts of lactic acid. A decision support system for prediction of the microbial spoilage in foods. and growth of Listeria monocytogenes in a meat model system. T. 18:139-149.B. F. Applied and Environmental Microbiology. Roberts. (1992). Wijtzes. L.. Modelling bacterial growth of Listeria monocytogenes as a function of water activity. Relationship between water activity. Mcclure. (1992).. Beuchat.J. pH and temperature. P.
. The effect of water activity (aw). and I. International Journal of Food Microbiology. and R. (1996). Grau. and T. (1993). and F.R. and temperature and suitability of media for its recovery. and L.K. Zwietering. 62:2735-2740. Wijtzes. M. Ucar. 55:574-578. pH and temperature on the growth of osmophilic yeasts. Duffy.H. 55:973-979. N.AquaLab Further Reading
ities for the growth of yeasts isolated from highsugar foods. P.C. Shelef. Journal of General and Applied Microbiology. Guneri. Van'T. and L. Turkish Journal of Biology. Zwietering.
Water Activity in Foods
Meat and Seafood Chen. Journal of Food Protection.A.
Rocha-Garza.AquaLab Further Reading
Growth of Listeria monocytogenes on vacuumpacked cooked meats: Effects of pH. Y.A. nitrite and ascorbate. Controlling water activity and pH in snack sticks.E. 36:442-446. Water activity of Spanish intermediatemoisture meat products. Meat Marketing and Technology.B. Styliadis. F. 33:651-656. Carmona. 23:377-390. Sugiyama. (1993). A. Miake. (1994). (1996). a w. Fermented meat products. Revista Espanola De Ciencia Y Tecnologia De Alimentos. 27:299-307. Meat Science. Imai. T. Hand. Shinano. Y. 59:1007-1010. and H. (1994). R.F.
. Journal of the Food Hygienic Society of Japan. Luecke. and S. and Fernandez-Salguero J. 38:341346. K. Fernandez-Salguero J. and J. M. Food Research International. (1995). Lee.. Water activity and microflora in commercial vacuumpacked smoked salmons. Note: Water activity of Spanish intermediate moisture fish products. L.K. Shimasaki. C. International Journal of Food Microbiology. Minegishi. Gómez. Journal of Food Science.. A survey of pH and water activity levels in processed salamis and sausages in Metro Toronto. (1996). and M. Journal of Food Protection. Gómez. Tsukamasa. Zayas. R. (1994). Quality of broiled beef patties supplemented with wheat germ protein flour. M. May:55-56.
Miake. Y. Lacroix. Hong. Shinano. Characterization and biochemical changes during the ripening of a Spanish craft goat's milk cheese (Armada variety). Y. and A. (1992). (1996). J. Kombila. M. and R. Muller. M.K. S. Y. Gonzalez... Journal of Food Science. Minegishi. Canadian Institute
. Tsukamasa. 60:569-576.
Dairy Products Fresno. and C. T. Korean Journal of Animal Science. Williams. (1995). Sodium lactate affects shelf life and consumer acceptance of fresh (Ictalurus nebulosus. K. J. International Journal of Food Microbiology. Untermann. M. F.E. 33:387-391. 60:636-639. and H.AquaLab Further Reading
61:418-421. Tornadijo. Food Chemistry. Shimasaki. (1994). Sugiyama. (1991). Effect of Water Activity and Storage Temperature on the Quality and Microflora of Smoked Salmon. Influence of aw value and storage temperature on the multiplication and enterotoxin formation of staphylococci in drycured raw hams.E. and C. (1991).J. West. marmoratus) fillets under simulated retail conditions. Physical and chemical properties of the process cheese on the domestic market. G. 55:225-230. lactose and glycerol on the water activity (AW) of cheese spreads.. Rodrick. P.L.M. Bernardo. 16:109-115.A.E. The effect of combinations of salt. Nippon Suisan Gakkaishi.H. Carballo.
M. L. Carballo. (1994).. M.AquaLab Further Reading
of Food Science and Technology Journal. (1992). Wahab. J. (1995). Pisecky. 47:3-7. Journal of Applied Bacteriology.P. Effect of
. J. and S. Muhammad. T.
Fruits and Vegetables Ayub. Ratomahenina. (1994). Folia Microbiologica. 24:233238. Galzy. (1995). Sarhad Journal of Agriculture. Martin. Weintraub. 75:240246. and P. M. and F. Reverbel. Study of Enterobacteriaceae throughout the manufacturing and ripening of hard goats' cheese. E. R. 11:755-761. Gorner. Effect of water activity adjusted with different solutes on growth and Lactic acid production by Lactobacillus helveticus. and J.. International Journal of Food Microbiology. Vivier. Study of the growth of yeasts from feta cheese. (1993). Zeb. Ratomahenina. Beveridge. and S. 22:207-215. Milchwissenschaft. Valik.. Characteristics of micrococci from the surface of Roquefort cheese. S. Water activity of milk powders. R. A. Rivemale. Journal of Applied Bacteriology. D.E. 76:546-552. Khan. J. (1995). D. R. J.R.. Fresno. Tornadijo. 40:472-474. Vivier. Effect of crystalline sweeteners on the water activity and shelf stability of osmotically dehydrated guava. Galzy. and P.
Industrial and Engineering Chemistry. and G. and C. Marinos. Z. (1943). V. Equilibrium moisture content of dehydrated vegetables. Journal of Food Science. Food Research International. 28:83-86.J.L. International Journal of Food Microbiology. Bertolo. Hernandez. B. M. Magan. M.R. and pH effects on growth of Fusarium moniliforme and Fusarium proliferatum isolates from maize. 57:1405-1407. Torreggiani. Tsami.. 41:1063-1070. (1996). Makower. 26:413-419.AquaLab Further Reading
blanching pretreatment on color and texture of apple slices at various water activities.. and R. Kiranoudis. mango and pineapple. Menegalli. Brovetto. C. and N. Water activity. Dehority. S. E. A. Jimenez. Influence of water activity and temperature on the production of zearalenone in corn by three Fusarium species. Food Research International.D. 20:55-74. and E. Manez. and G.C. M.V. Maroulis. Aguerre.P..B. R. G. 29:417-421.
. Water vapor adsorption isotherms of guava. (1993). (1992). Barbosa-Canovas. (1993). (1995).T.. Equilibrium moisture content and heat of desorption of some vegetables. Marin. F. Canadian Journal of Microbiology.. Monsalve-Gonzalez. Suarez. and K. Journal of Food Engineering. Maltini. D.. B. Hubinger. E. Sanchis. Functional properties of reduced moisture fruits as ingredients in food systems. 35(2):193-197. temperature.
(1996). and P. R. A. Mould growth and conidiation in cereal grains as affected by water activity and temperature. (1995). F. (1994). Taylor. Roa. Diaz de Tablante. Richard. Food Chemistry.. 10:721-726.L. V. Journal of Food Science. M. Growth of Clostridium sporogenes PA 3679 in home-style canned quick breads.-Y.K. Manan.. Aguilar. C. Kone. Lesage.J. Zeb. 60:356-359.. X. 47:337-
.M. Influence of crystalline sucrose and chemical preservatives on the water activity and shelf stability of intermediate banana chips. A. (1993). 17:7-13.E. Journal of Food Science. and A. Craig.C.R.W..X. and S. Fung. A. B. Clawson. Letters In Applied Microbiology.A. Gu. Khan.S. Liu. Mass transfer and textural changes during processing of apples by combined methods. (1993). Khan. J.
Baked Goods and Cereals Aramouni. (1994). Wang. Combined stress effects on growth of Zygosaccharomyces rouxii from an intermediate moisture papaya product. 70:303-306.V. W.AquaLab Further Reading
Cavalieri. Journal of Food Protection. and R. 58:1118-1124.D. Desorption isotherms of some vegetables. and M. Zhang.A. D.. and D. Tapia de Daza. K. R. L. Chemical changes during cooking of wheat. Cahagnier. Sarhad Journal of Agriculture. Zhou. (1993). X. M. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 57:882-886. Saeed. Liu.
Carmona. (1996). Sorption isotherms of flour and flow behaviour of dough as influenced by flour compaction. J. M. Peleg. and M. Comparison of the acoustic and mechanical signatures of two cellular crunchy cereal foods at various water
. 56:722724.F. Occurrence of enterotoxigenic strains of Staphylococcus aureus and enterotoxin production in bakery products. Canadian Agricultural Engineering. J.S. Sanchez. Cereal Chemistry. 59:1055-1060. Harris. 73:225-231. R. (1992). (1996). (1996). and S. and D. C. and D. Sumner.A. Albrecht. P.. Cenkowski. (1979).L. The mould-free shelf life of bakery products.A. Normand. Journal of Food Protection. Contamination of an unpreserved semisoft baked cookie with a xerophilic Aspergillus species. FMBRA Bulletin... M.. D. R.C. Seiler..AquaLab Further Reading
343. Ballenger. Tesch. Fernandez-Salguero J. and W. Bushuk. Roessler. Journal of Food Protection. Food Chemistry. 43:251-257. Peters. Alimentaria.D. Michniewicz. and M. Peleg. S. (1993).L. Effect of added pentosans on some properties of wheat bread. M. Ramanathan. 30:55-57. S. April(2):71-74. and M. Biliaderis. 37:119-124. (1993).A. Water activity in foods with intermediate moisture levels: Bakery and confectionery products: Miscellany. Gómez. (1995). Patterns of textural changes in brittle cellular cereal foods caused by moisture sorption.G.
Penfield. V. Collins. R. and M. Weegels. and M.L.. M. P.M. Changes in functional properties. Salazar. Effects of gluten of heating at different moisture contents: I. (1993). Journal of Food Engineering.. A. Blackcurrant juices. J. J.. Development of concentrated beverages from Anna apples with or without added preservatives by controlling activity of water for shelf stability. 8:23-28. Unrefined. Effects of addition of sodium citrate on the pasteurizing conditions in "Tuyu". Sa. 43:740-747. (1992). (1996).. dried apple pomace as a potential food ingredient. Journal of Food Science. Saeed. (1993).M. de Groot. Verhoek.L. Stability in the conservation of emulsified sauces low in oil content. Effect of temperature on sorption isotherms and heats of sorption of
. Kusumegi.A.J. K. Miguelsanz. and A. Khan. Ferragut. T.M. and A.G. Alimentaria. Hamer.J.. J. Pagan. M. Japanese noodle soup. Chiralt.AquaLab Further Reading
activity levels. Sereno. Rheology of clarified fruit juices: II.. Miyagi.A. 59:1213-1215.J. J. (1992). Sarhad Journal of Agriculture. Takahashi. (1994). and R. (1994). Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. 19:31-38. K.
Beverages/Soups/Sauces/Preserves Carson. and R. 30:67-69. 15:63-74. 70:347-354. Khan. Ibarz. and A.P. A. Durrani. Journal of Cereal Science. Journal of the Japanese Society for Food Science and Technology. M.
and D.J. M. Demain.. D. Effect of water activity on production of beta-lactam antibiotics by Streptomyces clavuligerus in submerged culture.J. Kabara. Costantino. (1996).C. International Journal of Food Science and Technology. R. H. 83:1662-1669. and A.R. In: Preservative-Free and Self-Preserving Cosmetics and Drugs: Principles and Practice.R. (1988). Water Activity and Self-Preserving Formulas. 62:87-95.) Marcel Dekker. N. Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy.M. (1997).L. C.AquaLab Further Reading
quince jam. Journal of Applied Bacteriology. Orth (ed. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 80:333-337. pp. Sorrels.S. Performulation studies involving moisture uptake in solid dosage forms.J. J. and K. Zografi. (1990). D.
Ahlneck. Solid-phase aggregation of proteins under pharmaceutically relevant conditions.M. Cundell.M. Langer. Klibanov. R. Jarosz. and A. 45-73. Pharmaceutical Research. and G. The role of moisture in protein stability. Enigl.R. Friedel. Hageman. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences. (1994). 28:241-248. The molecular basis of moisture effects on the physical and chemical stability of drugs in the solid state. (1998). Cochet. and P. 8(3):292-297. 14(14):2047-2070. Heidemann. and A. The application of water activity measurement to the microbiological
C. Edible coatings to inhibit lipid migration in a confectionery product. 14(14):1905-1926. 28:591-597. 58:1422-1425.N. Pharmacopeial Forum. Zografi. and T.
Bell. (1986). 14(14):1991-2027. G. Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy. (1995). Drug Development and Industrial Pharmacy.R. Bell. Food Research International. 22:291312. Kontny.J. (1988).P. Distribution of water in solid pharmaceutical systems. L. States of water associated with solids. Kontny. Kinetics of non-enzymatic browning in amorphous solid systems: Distinguishing the effects of water activity and the glass transition. G. Zografi.P. (1992). Labuza. N.J. 24(2):60876090. and M. Journal of Food Science. M. L. Influence of the lowmoisture state on pH and its implication for reaction kinetics. L. Bell.and starch-derived pharmaceutical excipients. Fennema. (1993). Compositional influence on the pH of reduced-moisture solutions.N. and T. (1994). and O.AquaLab Further Reading
attributes testing of nonsterile over-the-counter drug products. Journal of Food Science. (1988). The interactions of water with cellulose. Pharmaceutical Research. Brake. 3(4):187-193.N. 57:732-734. Labuza.
. Journal of Food Engineering.
P. New York/London. Lomauro. and T. C. and M. Water activity in selected high-moisture foods. coffee. 6:364-369. Lebensmittel-Wissenschaft und-Technologie. H. A.A. Evaluation of food moisture sorption isotherm equations.. (1972).G. oilseeds.G.. Part I: Fruit. Gómez. and L. 12:414-419. H. (1985).J.) Plenum Press. Lomauro. Carmona. In: Water Structure at the Water Polymer Interface. Water sorption by synthetic high polymers. (1950). Peterlin. (ed. C.J.P.S. Yasuda. 18:118-124. Evaluation of food moisture sorption isotherm equations. Bakshi. 18:111-117. Lebensmittel-Wissenschaft und-Technologie. Labuza.. and T. spices and starchy foods. Jellinek. Bakshi. A.
. (1993). Part II: Milk. Lamaze. (1985). Faller. Movement of water in homogeneous water-swollen polymers. M.. H. Fernandez-Salguero J. Labuza. and A.E.H. C. Olf. R. nuts.AquaLab Further Reading
Dole. B. vegetable and meat products.S. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. tea. Journal of the American Chemical Society. Crist.
Add water until the salt can absorb no more water. evidenced by the presence of free liquid. Keep the amount of free liquid to the minimum needed to keep the solution saturated with water. Please note that these values are based on averaged published data. and the standard errors shown reflect Greenspan’s standard error for each salt solution. Add distilled water in increments of about 2mL. Below is a table of saturated salt solutions and their respective water activities at various temperatures. not the AquaLab’s accuracy in measuring the salt. AquaLab
. 3. we recommend that you use the approved AOAC method. seal the solution well to prevent losses from evaporation. This method is as follows: 1. to a depth of about 1. If you plan on using this solution over a long term period. 2. and to an intermediate depth for intermediate salts. Select a reagent-grade salt and place it in a test container to a depth of about 4cm for more soluble salts (lower aw). stirring constantly.AquaLab Appendix A
Preparing Salt Solution
If you choose to mix a saturated salt solution for use as a verification standard.5 cm for less soluble salts (high aw).
004 0.973 ± 0. Rounded to nearest thousandth.328 ± 0.001 0. 4.976 ± 0.002 0.AquaLab Appendix A
measures all samples with an accuracy of ±0.843 ± 0.002 0.432 ± 0.851 ± 0.005
aw at 25° C
0.755 ± 0.
.003 0.113 ± 0.544 ± 0.432 ± 0.002 0.003 aw.753 ± 0.003 0.529 ± 0.005
Adapted from Greenspan (1977).002 0.113 ± 0.003 0.001 0.331 ± 0.003 0.003 0. Saturated salt solutions are very temperature-sensitive and their values are not as accurate as the verification standards offered by Decagon.
Table 2: Water Activity of Selected Salt Solutions
Saturated Solution Lithium Chloride Magnesium Chloride Potassium Carbonate Magnesium Nitrate Sodium Chloride Potassium Chloride Potassium Sulfate
aw at 20° C
984 0.250 0.984 0. (°C) 15.984 0.0 20.760 8.0 35.760 0.0 25.003aw
.0m NaCl 0.000 1.984 6.500 0.0 30.000 1.266
Aqualab will measure these standards to ±0.492 0.760 0.261 0.496 0.245 0.760 0.512 13.760 0.000 1.000 0.AquaLab Appendix A
Table 3: Temperature Correction of Decagon’s Verification Standards Temp.5m KCl 0.0 H2O 1.238 0.504 0.761 0.508 0.984 0.000 1.984 0.0 40.255 0.000 1.41m LiCl 0.57m LiCl 0.
All instruments are built at the factory at Decagon and pertinent testing documentation is freely available for verication. WA 99163 USA AquaLab water activity meter. Series 3TE 1999
Type of Equipment: Model Number: Year of First Manufacture:
This is to certify that the AquaLab water activity meter. Inc. the Series 3 and 3TE.
. manufactured by Decagon Devices.AquaLab Declaration of Conformity
Declaration of Conformity
Application of Council Directive: Standards to which conformity is declared: Manufacturer’s Name: 89/336/EEC EN81-1 EN500082-1 Decagon Devices. a corporation based in Pullman. Series 3. including. 2365 NE Hopkins Court Pullman. This certification applies to all AquaLab Series 3 models. Washington. but not limited to.. Inc. USA meets or exceeds the standards for CE compliance as per the Council Directives noted above.
AquaLab Certificate of Traceability
Certificate of Traceability
Decagon Devices, Inc. 2365 NE Hopkins Court Pullman WA 99163 tel: (509) 332-2756 fax: (509) 332-5158 email@example.com This is to certify that AquaLab water activity meters are manufactured utilizing temperature standards with calibration traceable to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
A accessories 12 accuracy 5 AquaLab and chilled mirror dewpoint technique 6 and temperature 7 limitations of 9 series 3 5 series 3TE 5, 9 theory 47 B beeper 19 changing block sensors 56 block failure 66, 71 buttons for linear offset settings 28 for menu selection 15 C c for continuous mode 17 cautions 41 CE compliance 97 charcoal 36, 59 checking calibration 59 chilled-mirror technique 6 cleaning 55 inside case 58
optical sensor 58 sensor block 56 thermopile 58 tools needed for 55 coated samples shortening read time for 34 communication settings 46 component performance indicator 72 components 12 computer interface 44 continuous sampling mode 17 cotton swabs not used for cleaning 55 customer service 1 Czech 16 D Danish 16 data download format 46 Declaration of Conformity 97 dehydrated samples 35 distilled water 26 dried samples shortening read time for 34 dry samples 42, 70 E e-mail address 2 error messages 64 "sample too dry" 70 "sample too hot" 69 triangle on screen 70
26–31 menu 20 when to verify for 26
inside sample chamber 7 fax number 2 features 11 flashing. See LED French 16 further reading 74 fuse changing 66 G German 16
H Hyperterminal using for downloading 45 I Italian 16 L languages changing 16 LED 19 linear offset causes for 24 definition 24 how to adjust for 26.
15 maintenance 55 manual 1 menus main menu 15 system configuration 18 molality of verification standards 25 N NIST traceability 98 Norwegian 16 O osmotic effects 51 P peltier cooler 6 pharmaceuticals 91 Portuguese 16 preparing salt solutions 94 propylene glycol 36. 42
M main menu 14.AquaLab Index
loaners 63 location for sampling 13 low water activity 37. 67 cleaning out of chamber 36 R read time
affected by sample temp. 23 sample preparation 32 sample too dry 42. See verification standards sample slow water-emitting 67 sample cups cleaning 33 filling level 33 sample equilibration screen 7. 70 sample too hot 38. 34. 41. soups. 38 long read time 7. sauces. 67 readings cautions 41 how AquaLab takes 39. 65. 65 samples
. preserves 90 dairy products 85 food quality and safety 78 meat and seafood 83 microbiology 79 pharmaceuticals 91 water activity theory 74 relative humidity 5. 40 taking readings 39 references 74 baked goods and cereals 88 beverages. 49 repair costs 63 instructions for 61 shipping 61 S salt standards.
9 important tips 22 shipping for repair 61 sorption isotherms relating water activity to water content 53 Spanish 16 spilling the sample 41 Swedish 16 T technical support 1 telephone number 2 temperature effects on water activity 49 hot samples 41 of instrument 41 samples not at room temp.AquaLab Index
coated 34 dehydrated 35 dried 34 low water activity 37 multi-component 32 needing special preparation 34 not at room temperature 38 slow water-emitting 35 surface area of 35 viscous 35 sampling modes continuous 17 normal 15 saturated salts 94 seller’s liability 3 series 3 5 series 3TE 5. 38
47 displayed 14 effect on food 6. 70 troubleshooting 64
V verification standards 24 aw readings too high/low for 68 compared to saturated salts 95 for linear offset 28 long read times for 68 types 25 volatiles 9.AquaLab Index
temperature control 7 reasons for 8 theory water activity 74 time format in data download 46 long read times 67 toll-free number 2 triangle mirror performance indicator 65. 36 special sampling block for 36 W warm-up 14 warranty 2 warranty card 2 water activity adjusting for offset 29 Aqualab and 5 definition 5. 47 low 42
of verification standards 25 stability diagram 48 theory 47 water content definition 47 methods for determining 47 vs. 53 water potential factors in determining 51 matric effects 52 osmotic effects 51 relation to water activity 50
. water activity 47.