Reflectance Measurement of Egg Cuticle
The LI200 Ecutimeter is designed to measure egg cuticle quality and integrity using reflectance spectroscopy covering the visible spectrum. An accurate sample placement system ensures consistent, individual measurements can be made in ~4 s. with integration times as low as 30 ms measurement every time. This allows users to measure ~800 eggs / hr with manual sample placement. Staining with a custom dye formulation helps ensure consistent results whilst minimising impact of egg colour on cuticle determination.
The LI200 Ecutimeter (see Specification page for further details) was developed to provide reliable, accurate and speedy measurements of cuticle quality on hens’ eggs. This is an important determinant of the eggs’ resistance to bacterial infection.
The system design features high speed reflectance spectrometry along with customised optics and bespoke software to provide a rapid, reproducible analysis of the cuticle layer.
The unit is capable of measuring reflectance from an egg surface over the visible spectrum from 360-850 nm with a dynamic range of 8.5×107. An example spectrum is shown below. The measurement profile and characteristics can be customized according to customers’ needs.
Owing to the very wide range of reflectance that can be produced by stained eggs the data are converted into absorbance values to allow more accurate comparisons. Cuticle coverage is determined by comparing the absorbances of eggs stained with a protein dye formulation to standards. Consistency of cuticle coverage can be determined by the variance between multiple points on the surface.
An example of some recorded data is shown with comparison to the accepted method of performing accurate reflectance measurements, the use of an integrating sphere (a modified Ocean Optics ISP sphere)
The table indicates a good cuticle with good coverage (Egg1), a good cuticle with bad coverage (Egg2), a bad cuticle with good coverage(Egg3).
Sample placement is straight forward with our proprietary optical sampling system ensuring consistent measurements every time. Individual measurement speed around four seconds with integrations times as low as 30 ms being possible for most samples. In batch mode the system has the capacity to measure at a rate of around ~800 eggs / hr.
The Ecutimeter provides fully integrated measurement and control capability with touchscreen input enabling a completely stand-alone solution. Data are output over common interfaces such as Ethernet and USB to standard media and devices. The custom software solution records and analyses the sample data directly, according to a user-defined analysis profile.