Receipt of samples
Each sample is assigned an internal reference number when it is entered in our IT system ensuring that it remains identified throughout the laboratory’s process. This unique number, which forms the basis of our traceability, is provided on all documents relating to this sample, including the analysis report and the invoice. It is also under this number that the results are recorded in computer databases, which allow us to calculate the results from the raw data sent by the measuring instruments.
Division and grinding
Each sample is divided into a greater or lesser number of fractions according to the analyses required by the customer. This extremely important work is carried out using specialised equipment, which allows each fraction to retain the initial composition of the complete sample. This careful work ensures the representativeness of our results.
Some analyses are carried out on grain as is, others on ground grain and flour. In the latter case, the laboratory will mill the grain, simulating the work of the miller. Each analysis requires a different particle size and presentation of the test sample. As such, we have a wide variety of grinders and mills (12 different models).
Oilseeds and meals
- Water, dockage, oil, and acidity content
- Cellulose and fibre content (Van Soest)
- Composition of fatty acids, glucosinolates content
Oilseed prices are based on the three basic analyses that determine the amount of oil that can be extracted from the seed (water, dockage, oil). A few other determinations are used to characterise this oil or the meal.
For this activity, the laboratory is equipped with three Chopin multicellular ovens, 40 hexane Soxhlet extraction stations, a large capacity Dangoumeau mill, and two latest generation pulsed wave NMR spectrometers. Most of this activity is computerised in order to limit data entry and processing errors.
The search for dockage, for which there is currently no automated technique, requires one or two full-time people per day.
Grain and protein crops — Physical analyses
- Mass per hectolitre. Thousand kernel weight
- Dockage content according to addendum or European methods
- Vitreous aspect with a farinotome or scalpel
- Calibration, grain size, Hardness, PSI
These parameters, considered obsolete by some, nevertheless remain the basis of trading contracts. Even if they are not always related to technological quality, they condition, with regard to common wheat, milling quality and therefore industrial yield. Operating procedures are still largely manual but weighing on electronic scales is computerised in order to limit transcription and calculation errors. Repeatability conditions are tested by the system, thus allowing automatic validation of results.
Grain and protein crops — Chemical analyses
- Water, protein, ash, and fatty acidity content
- Wet and/or dry gluten, cellulose, fibre content (Van Soest)
Chemical analyses provide the composition of the samples submitted to the laboratory. These values are essential for user industries to ensure batch compliance with technical, contractual, or regulatory standards.
For this activity, the laboratory is equipped with three Chopin multicellular ovens, semi-automated Kjeldahl equipment, a double-station Glutomatic Perten, a 6-station fibre extractor, and two infrared analysers. Various general laboratory equipment (stirrers, centrifuge, micro-plate reader) complete this equipment.
The main mycotoxins can be assayed by ELISA test for large series or by HPLC for unit samples.
Grain — Technological analyses
These are the quality analyses par excellence because they determine the grain’s suitability for its industrial use. Each variety and each use has its own specific tests:
- Common wheat and flour: Alveograph, Farinograph, Hagberg, Zélény, Gluten index
- Malting barley: Germination test, Germinative capacity by tetrazolium
- Maize: Promatest, waxy purity
- Feed grain: AFNOR viscosity, Potential Useful viscosity, Potential real viscosity
For this, Laboragro has state-of-the-art equipment that ensures reliable and rapid analyses: Chopin alveoPC , electronic Brabender farinograph, dual station Falling number, UV-visible spectrophotometer, and capillary viscometer
Flour and milled products
- Water, protein, ash, fatty acidity, damaged starch, pentosan content
- Alveograph, Farinograph, Hagberg, Zélény, Gluten index, SRC
- Detection and determination of ascorbic acid
- Filth test
In addition to chemical and technological analyses, we offer a few determinations that allow manufacturers to check flour compliance with user specifications. In particular, we are equipped with a SDmatic Chopin automaton, a simple and robust method for determining damaged starch.
We use a method developed at Laboragro by our R&D engineer to determine pentosan content. A poster on it was designed, and it won an award at the 2012 JTIC.
Automation of grading by image processing, automatic recognition of dockage by hyperspectral imagery, development of the spectral method for Hagberg falling number, etc. are all innovation projects in which Laboragro is involved in partnership with laboratory instrument manufacturers.
Laboragro thus displays its expertise and confirms its leadership position among the laboratories in the grain sector.