Up-skilling your staff can make a real difference to your productivity. Professor Keith Gordon has been working with companies using analytical spectroscopy – using hand-held spectrometers (with lasers) to test for various properties in different products: they've worked with Fonterra testing milk powder to see which proteins were present, how much fat etc.
You can also use this technique on hops to see whether a particular crop is bittering hops or aromatic hops. The alternative techniques are costly, time consuming and use (and destroy) a reasonable quantity of hops. This work is being done in collaboration with PERU (Plant Extracts Research Unit).
Further developments are underway in collaboration with the Dodd-Walls Centre; using lasers in this way is very simple once staff know what to look for - Professor Gordon explains “These techniques are very usable in a broad sense … they could be used by someone working in a fish oil processing plant to go this fish oil's going to have this much omega 3… it's going to have that much omega 3… you start to develop ways you can very rapidly process things.”