The most important quality feature of sugar, purity, is measured along the supply chain. ICUMSA Ratings are used to measure the purity of sugar.
What is ICUMSA?
The International Commission for Uniform Methods for Sugar Analysis (ICUMSA) is an international regulatory body which sets the standard for sugar analysis tests, thereby creating a system which can be used anywhere in the globe to accurately and quickly describe the purity of sugar, which is directly related to the colour of sugar. There is also a direct correlation between the colour of sugar and how much refining it has undergone. Raw sugar is very dark in colour, whereas highly refined sugar is a sparkling white colour.
How do you Measure ICUMSA?
The ICUMSA test is carried out with a colorimeter / photometer. This is an instrument that fires various wavelengths of light at the sugar sample, and detects which were absorbed by the sample and which were reflected back. Dark colours absorb a great deal of light, whereas light colours absorb very little.
For this reason, the colorimeter / photometer returns a low result of ICUMSA 45 when analyzing highly refined sugar, and a higher rating of ICUMSA 1000 or more when analyzing raw sugars. ICUMSA 45 is perpetually in high demand as it is the safest form of sugar due to the refining process that removes bacteria and contaminants present in raw sugar. An ICUMSA 45 rating commands the highest price in the International market place.
Using the Lovibond® PFXi195 Automatic Colorimeter / Photometer
The Lovibond® PFXi195 Automatic Colorimeter is a high precision Spectrophotometer that automatically measures ICUMSA colour. It uses the photometric methods for colour grading of filtered sugar solutions based on the transmittance of the solution at a known concentration (brix value) and at the specified wavelength of 420 nm for white sugars and other light coloured products or 560 nm for darker coloured products. The instrument has gained widespread international acceptance and is backed by the Tintometer Ltd’s century plus experience in the colour industry.
It provides an ideal solution for the laboratory and production environment as it requires no special skills to operate and has a simple robust steel measurement chamber that is easy to clean repeatedly.
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