Aggregation of Particles in Beer

Nov 7, 2019
Applications: AggregationColloidsFoodSci
Instruments: NanoBrook Series

Brewing Research International selected the NanoBrook ZetaPlus fitted with the BI-9000AT correlator from Brookhaven Instruments Ltd. for research and quality control projects investigating factors that might extend the shelf life of beer. The ZetaPlus was chosen over two other competitive systems because it was the only one to offer all the desired features “off-the-shelf”. It has proved suitable to the study of ultra-fine biological particles in beer and is in constant use by both engineers and chemists investigating micro-filtration techniques and particle aggregation.

Gary Freeman, Project Manager at Brewing Research International said, “The ZetaPlus had all the features we needed, we have the added bonus of Zeta Potential measurement and good software for data handling.”

The instrument is proving very popular among Brewing Research International staff, “The instrument is in regular, cross-discipline use. It is used in the same way but for different reasons – for example, the engineers are looking at separation techniques and the chemists are carrying out particle aggregation studies.”

“Breweries are constantly looking for longer shelf-life in their products,” said Freeman. “This stems from the fact that their distribution chains are getting longer so stability is a major issue. Photon Correlation Spectroscopy (PCS) has become a powerful tool in the task of improving the colloidal stability of beer. Under certain circumstances, the particles in the beer are susceptible to flocculation and can form a visible precipitate. This would not please the customers so we use the PCS facility of the Brookhaven ZetaPlus to investigate the effectiveness of various separation techniques needed to remove these ultra-fine particles.”

This is not a straightforward matter where beer is concerned because of its natural color. “Beer particles are non-ideal and the PCS technique is really designed for colorless suspensions. However, the Brookhaven support team has always been available to help us interpret our results,” concluded Freeman.