Determination of Fat in Raw and Processed Milks by the Gerber Method: Collaborative Study

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Abstract:

The Gerber method is used worldwide as a simple and rapid method for determining fat in raw and processed milks. However, the volume of the test portion used in the method has not been internationally agreed upon. A collaborative study was conducted to evaluate performance of the Gerber method using either a weighed test portion (11.13 g) or by a 10.77 mL test portion delivered by pipet. For each method, laboratories received 10 test samples: 5 raw and 5 pasteurized homogenized milks, 2 of which were blind duplicate pairs. Eleven and 10 laboratories participated in the evaluation of aliquot addition by weight and pipet, respectively. Mojonnier ether extraction (Method 989.05) was used as the reference method. Interlaboratory study statistics were similar between methods of test portion addition and between raw and processed materials; therefore, summary interlaboratory study statistics were pooled. The fat content of milk samples ranged from 0.96 to 5.48%. Absolute reproducibility and repeatability were not affected by fat level, and pooled statistical performance (invalid and outlier data removed) was (g fat/100 g milk) sr = 0.026, sR = 0.047, r = 0.074, and R = 0.132. Relative standard deviations increased with decreasing fat content, and were summarized by fat level: 1–2% fat milk, mean = 1.437, RSDr = 1.809%, RSDR = 3.271%; 2–6% fat milk, mean = 4.156, RSDr = 0.626%, RSDR = 1.131%. Compared with ether extraction, test results by the Gerber method were slightly lower (0.02% fat) using a weighed test portion and significantly lower (0.06% fat) using a 10.77 mL volume addition by pipet. A trend toward underestimating fat content at lower fat concentrations (1–2% fat) was observed with the weighed test portion but not when a pipet was used. The Associate Referee recommends that the Gerber method using a weighed test portion be adopted as First Action with applicability limited to whole milk.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Rutgers University, Cook College, New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station, Department of Food Science, New Brunswick, NJ 08903. 2: Cornell University, Department of Food Science, Northeast Dairy Foods Research Center, Stocking Hall, Ithaca, NY 14853. 3: Weber Scientific, 2732 Kuser Rd, Hamilton, NJ 08691. 4: Certified Laboratories, Inc., 200 Express St, Plainview, NY 11803.

Publication date: September 1, 2001

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes refereed papers and reviews in the fields of chemical, biological and toxicological analytical chemistry for the purpose of showcasing the most precise, accurate and sensitive methods for analysis of foods, food additives, supplements and contaminants, cosmetics, drugs, toxins, hazardous substances, pesticides, feeds, fertilizers and the environment available at that point in time. The scope of the Journal includes unpublished original research describing new analytical methods, techniques and applications; improved approaches to sampling, both in the field and the laboratory; better methods of preparing samples for analysis; collaborative studies substantiating the performance of a given method; statistical techniques for evaluating data. The Journal will also publish other articles of general interest to its audience, e.g., technical communications; cautionary notes; comments on techniques, apparatus, and reagents.
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