Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy as a tool to characterize spice powder variations for quality and authenticity purposes: A ginger case study

Qing Han, Sara W. Erasmus, Arjen Bader, Christos Fryganas, Christopher T. Elliott, Saskia M. van Ruth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Downloads (Pure)


Spices are usually ground for applications and the resulting particle size of the powders is an important product attribute in view of the release of flavour. However, inhomogeneity of the original material may lead to variations in the physicochemical characteristics of the particles. This variation and its linkage to particle size may be examined by particular imaging techniques. This study aimed to explore the potential of Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscopy (FLIM) to characterize spice powders according to particle size variations and correlation with their pigment contents to reveal the chemical information contained within the FLIM data. Ginger powder was used as a representative powder model. The FLIM profiles of the individual samples and populations revealed that FLIM coupled with the phasor approach has the capacity to characterize spice powder according to particle size. Meanwhile, Principal Component Analysis of pre-processed FLIM data revealed clustering of particle size groups. Further correlation analysis between the pigment compound contents and FLIM data of the ginger powders indicated that FLIM reflected chemical information of ginger powder and was able to visualize endogenous fluorophores. The current study revealed the potential of FLIM to characterize ginger powder particles. This approach may be extrapolated to other spice powder products. The new knowledge is a step further in paving the way for the application of innovative techniques, already prevalent in other domains, to food quality and authentication.

Original languageEnglish
Article number113792
Number of pages11
JournalFood Research International
Early online date09 Dec 2023
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by China Scholarship Council, China (grant agreement No. 201903250123 ) and the EU-China-Safe project ( http://www.euchinasafe.eu/ ) which is funded by the Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, European Union, under grant agreement No. 727864 . Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are that of the authors and the European Commission, European Union, does not accept any liability in this regard. The authors gratefully acknowledge all the companies for their participation in the study. We would also like to thank Jinzhou Jiang under the Master programme, Food Technology, Wageningen University & Research, Netherlands, for his help in the quantitative analysis of pigment compounds.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023


  • Composition
  • Fluorescence lifetime
  • Food authentication
  • Food powder
  • Food quality
  • Phasor plot

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy as a tool to characterize spice powder variations for quality and authenticity purposes: A ginger case study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this