Oxford Biomedical Research Awarded USDA Grant To Develop A Rapid Frying Oil Test

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Oxford Biomedical Research, Inc. has been awarded a grant to develop a simple, easy to use dipstick to measure frying oil quality. A dipstick that measures total polar compounds (TPC) will allow restaurants to maximize the usable life of their frying oils while ensuring food quality.

Oxford Biomedical Research, Inc., a privately held biotechnology company located in Oakland County Michigan, has been awarded a $99,872 Phase 1 Small Business Innovation Research Grant by the National Institute of Food an Agriculture. This grant, entitled “Development of rapid, point-of-use dry chemistry dip-stick assays for food quality,” is to complete the development of a simple, rapid colorimetric dipstick for restaurants to determine when frying oils need to be replaced.

A major cost for many restaurants and snack food manufacturers is frying oil. With normal usage, frying oil degrades to form unhealthy byproducts that also affect the taste and texture of food, ultimately requiring that the oil be discarded when it is “spent” and no longer suitable for cooking. The useful life of frying oils is often judged by its color and smell, which are subjective, variable, and unreliable. A more reliable indicator of oil life and quality is the percentage of total polar compounds (TPC) in the oil as it breaks down with use. Measurement of TPC in frying oil is recognized world-wide as the best way to evaluate oil. In fact, because of the health risks associated with using frying oils for too long, members of the European Union and many Asian countries require that frying oils be discarded if they contain TPCs in excess of 25%. But, until now TPC analysis required either a lot of time in a special laboratory or expensive testing equipment. Oxford Biomedical has developed a proprietary quick and inexpensive method to measure TPCs in oil. The prototype test strip is both quick and accurate and should allow users to maximize oil life while maintaining oil quality.

Researchers at the Food Science Division of Oxford Biomedical Research, Inc. led by Dr. Enrique Martinez, are working to complete TPC dipstick development to achieve an assay possessing a high level of color reproducibility and accurate to within ± 5% TPC. The dipstick must also be affordable, easy-to-use and read, and be sufficiently stable so that it can be stored for several months without significant change in performance.

The quick test product will offer fry operators a more reliable method for monitoring oil quality to improve taste, health and economy.

Oxford Biomedical Research, Inc. develops, manufactures, and markets products for biomedical research, companion animal veterinary diagnosis and food quality testing.

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Richard McGowen
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