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Name of Student: Elijah V.

Name of Groupmate: Janreich Miramon

Date Performed: August 24, 2016

Date Submitted: September 14, 2016

Crackers have long been discovered since the Egyptian era because people were too rushed
to allow their dough to rise to make bread. By definition, crackers are types of biscuits that are made
from unsweetened and unleavened dough. In the early period, biscuits and crackers were manually
baked by hands. Crackers or biscuits are hard-baked products composed of flour, sugar and egg. It
has low-moisture content because of little water application in the overall processing of crackers. The
moisture content is further reduced through heating (Wheat Foods Council, 2005).
Crackers were originally placed inside a cracker barrel. This was in fact used in the biscuit
industry until the National Biscuit Corporation individually packaged biscuits in the 1890s. Through the
years, crackers remained as a convenient food that can be eaten anytime of the day. Crackers have
also gained its popularity in the market because of its extended shelf life. This has further encouraged
food scientists to develop crackers that are low in cholesterol, fat and salt (Wheat Foods Council,
Biscuits are not like other baked products compared to cake and bread. Baked goods
mentioned in the latter have generally high moisture content compared to crackers. Crackers have
only a moisture content of 1-5%. Moisture content in food is an indicator of the stability of the food
product. Low moisture content foods are free from microbiological spoilage. An interesting fact about
crackers is the name might have originated in the cracking sound of the food (Bake Info, 2011).
Moisture content determination is one of the most important analyses that can be performed in
food. It is hard to get an accurate result because moisture content determination is an intricate
analysis. Moisture content assay is analyzed through the amount of moisture in food. Total solids is
defined as the material that remained after the moisture content was removed (Nielsen, 2010).
Food products must be tested for its moisture content to determine the type of processing to be
used to extend its shelf life. Content assays are one of the most important tests in the food industry
because of the technological development to mass produce products. Therefore, there is a need to
conduct moisture content that is fast, reliable, and precise. Water is an important component of food.
The amount of water present in food varies depending on the type of the food. There are three forms
of water in food namely the free water adsorbed water, and water of hydration. Thus, the analysis of
water present in food may depend on the type of water to be analyzed. The moisture content
determination of food products must follow AOAC (Association of Official Analytical Chemists) method.

It is usually preferred by scientists and research agencies. Due to different forms of water existing in
food, technologies for moisture analysis were developed. Some of these examples include
thermogravimetric analysis, chemical analysis, spectroscopic analysis, and other types of analysis like
gas chromatography, density determination, among others (Mettler, 2012).
A good and common example of thermogravimetric analysis is the oven-drying method. In this
method, the sample is heated until it has a constant weight. It follows the principle of differential
weighing. It is one of the earliest methods of moisture content analysis in foods. The main principle is
after the heat applied, the sample will release its moisture content. The loss of weight in the sample is
used to calculate the moisture content of the sample. Oven-drying method of analysis is simple and
cost effective. This method produces values of the results that are almost near to each other.
However, its disadvantage is the decomposition of many substances when heated. More so, heating
cause calcinations in the food. Lastly, there might be a risk of mixing up the samples. There are typical
errors during the moisture content determination of the food using oven-drying method (Suzanne,
2010) . These include handling, calculation, and documentation errors. In order to calculate the
moisture content of food, this formula is followed


weight of wet sampleweight of dry sample

x 100
weight of wet sample

The main objective of this experiment is to determine the moisture content and total solids in
crackers using the oven-drying method.
Sample Preparation
A pack of Hansel biscuit was purchased at Licandas Grocery in Miag-ao, Iloilo. The sample
was purchased in pack so that they will have the same lot number, important in the homogeneity of
samples for sample analysis. The sample was then brought to the School of Technology Food Analysis
laboratory for moisture content determination.
The sample was crushed using a mortar and pestle. The sample was contained in their
packaging material to avoid losses in the analysis. After the sample was thoroughly crushed, it was
placed in a container for sample analysis. 3-5 grams of the laboratory sample was placed in an
aluminum foil. The analysis had three replicates to have a more accurate analysis of the result.
The excess sample was placed in a plastic and aluminum foil and was frozen to preserve its
components. This was done for further analysis in the laboratory.

Moisture Content Determination

For the moisture content determination, the laboratory samples were placed in an oven dryer
with a temperature of 105oC for 5 hours. The temperature in the oven dryer was observed as it
fluctuates from time to time. If the temperature will increase or decrease from 105 oC, the laboratory
staff was informed to set it back again to 105 oC. After 5 hours, the sample was placed in a desiccator
to cool down for 20-30 minutes. It was then weighed using a Denver Instrument analytical balance.
The weight of the laboratory samples were recorded in the laboratory notebook. After the weighing,
the samples were placed again in the oven dryer for 30 minutes. This process was repeated for four
times until constant weight was obtained. The result had two consecutive constant weights (0.0001).
The moisture content in percent of the food product was determined.

Wf (Total



Ave %MC
























Moisture content of the crackers was determined by oven-drying method. After the samples
were heated at 105oC, it was weighed and heated again until the weight is already constant. It was
observed that there is a change in the color of the sample because of the heating process. The initial
weight of the sample in three replicates is 5.0370g, 5.0314g, and 5.0412g. The heating process was
done at least four times. The weight of the samples after constant weighing is 4.9003g, 4.9778g, and
4.9542g. It can be noted that there is a decrease in the mass of the crackers.
Considering the boiling point of water to be 100oC, the oven that will be used in the experiment
should have a temperature of more than 100oC to eliminate moisture in the food. Free water is the

type of water that can be easily removed in the moisture content determination. Moisture removal of
crackers was done by grinding and placing it inside the oven. Products in liquid form undergo steam
bath before drying in an oven. This is to ensure that the rate and efficiency of moisture removal in food
products are evenly distributed in particle and sample sizes (Nielsen, 2010).
It is recommended to label the sample systematically with complete information to avoid errors
in the experiment (Mettler-Toledo, 2012). The utilization of tongs when handling samples must be
always practiced. Samples after heating must be placed inside a desiccator to avoid moisture
absorption in the environment (MClements, 2003).
There are two types of basis in getting for the moisture content. Dry basis moisture content is
the equivalent ratio of the weight of the water (Ww) to the weight of the dry matter (Wd). The formula
for the moisture content (dry basis) is


x 100 . Wet basis moisture content is the

percentage of the ratio of the weight of water to the total weight of the material. The formula for the
wet basis moisture content is


x 100 . In food industry, moisture content is commonly
Ww +Wd

in wet basis (Nielsen, 2010).

It is a challenge to obtain an accurate result in moisture content assay. In oven drying method,
one of the critical points to have a precise result is the proper control of time and temperature. When
time/temperature is extended too much, the samples are prone to decomposition. Thus, there should
be proper monitoring of time and temperature of the oven to reduce decomposition factor of the food
sample. Some food samples obtained from same sources have different moisture content when
tested. This is due to some reactions in food during the drying process (Nielsen, 2010). Ideally,
moisture content determination is efficient if the moisture in food is separated without decomposing its
constituents. Since crackers (sample tested for the experiment) are examined for its moisture content,
it is a carbohydrate-rich food. The variation in the results might have been affected by the heating
process, since carbohydrates decompose at 100oC. There is moisture generated during the
decomposition of carbohydrates. This can affect the accuracy of the result of the moisture content
analysis. It can be noted the results have decreased, and increased in weight. While weight loss can
be attributed to moisture loss, weight gains can be caused by oxidation of unsaturated fatty acids
(Wathsala, 2014).
Temperature control is a critical factor that must be considered before the start of the
experiment. Different drying methods utilize time & temperature combinations that are suited for the
analysis. Temperature variation in three types of oven is namely convection, atmospheric forced draft,
and vacuum. Convection oven has the greatest temperature variation among different types of oven.
This is because the air inside is not equally distributed. There is no fan that aids in the circulation of

hot air. The forced draft oven which was used in the experiment has the least temperature variation.
This is because hot air is evenly distributed in the system affecting the sample (Nielsen, 2010).
Improper handling of food samples may affect the laboratory samples to be analyzed. Tongs
should be used when handling food samples. The weight of the sample will be affected if bare hands
will be used to handle laboratory sample. This is due to the assumption that even fingerprints have
weights (Nielsen, 2010).
The moisture content (wet basis) of the three laboratory samples are 2.71%, 1.07%, 1.73%,
while for the dry basis are 2.79%, 1.08%, and 1.76%. By principle, moisture content determination
aims to remove moisture content in food. The moisture and the type of the food sample to be analyzed
must be considered. Some food products may not tolerate oven drying methods, thus explains the
loss of volatiles in the food product. The moisture content determination of food samples is one of the
hardest analyses to obtain an accurate and precise result. Sample collection, sample handling, and
sample labelling should be practiced properly and systematically to avoid errors in the experiment.
More so, the type of food material determines the method of analysis for moisture content

The following are recommended after the experiment has been conducted:
1. Other moisture content determination e.g. Infrared rying, etc aside from oven drying method
must be conducted.
2. Conduct moisture content determination on other type of food materials e.g. materials that are
rich in protein
3. To have a more efficient storage for the samples, the silica inside the dessicator must be
heated prior the moisture content assay.

Bake Info (2011). Biscuits. Retrieved September 5, 2016 on
Nielsen, Suzanne S. (2010). Food Analysis. 4th ed. Retrieved September 5, 2016 on
Mettler-Toledo A.G. (September 2012). Food Analysis: The Ultimate Moisture & Water Guide. Proven
Methods and Procedures. Retrieved September 5, 2016 on
Mcclements, D.J. (2003). Determination of Moisture and Total Solids. Retrieved September 5, 2016 on
Wathasala, L.H.A.G. (2014). FST 393.1.0 Food Science & Technology Practicals V, Proximate
Composition of food. Retrieved September 5, 2016 on

Table 1. Weight of the Laboratory Samples (in grams)

Initial Weight
Dried Weight (1)
Dried Weight (2)
Dried Weight (3)
Dried Weight (4)

Sample 1

Sample 2

Sample 3

Note: Values with asterisk (*) are basis for the constant weight of