MRI for Agricultural applications
According to research carried out by Prof. Seong Min Kim, of Chonbuk National University, Republic of Korea, “The demands on the quality of agricultural and food products are very high. Quality evaluation has been primarily performed by examining external factors such as color, scars, defects and insect damage. However, internal factors such as structure, maturity, texture, chemical components and internal defects or damages are key points in quality evaluation of agricultural and food products.”
With the development of MRI techniques, these internal factors can now also be closely analyzed. MRI allows the interior of foods to be imaged noninvasively and nondestructively. The many types of analysis offered by MRI include; analysis of thawing processes, distribution of oils in adipose tissue (fats), distribution of water in meat products, non-destructive analysis of wine grapes, 3D analysis of fine vasculature in fruits, and the prediction of splitting incidence in fruit. MRI images can be quantified to yield information about a wide range of processes and material properties, offering a clear depiction of internal structures, the distribution and mobility of water and oils, and susceptibility differences inside materials.
MRI has a clear advantage over other imaging techniques in the analysis of internal structures, the detection of defects and the evaluation of internal quality in food and other biological materials. MRI allows a wide range of measurements to be made that not only assist in evaluating quality and maturity parameters in fruits, vegetables and grains, but also increase understanding of underlying physiological processes. Being a non-destructive imaging modality, MRI is particularly suited to food analysis and also post-harvest sorting and processing.