Obtaining highly homogeneous mixtures is an urgent task in many areas of feed production, as it is associated with the need for even distribution of particularly important and valuable components. Manufacturers of animal feed are using several different methods for performing homogeneity studies to check their mixer performance. This paper is devoted to the use of nontraditional markers such as ferromagnetic Microtracers to evaluate the homogeneity of the final feed. Microtracers have successfully been used in a mixer testing program in the USA since 1985 and in Europe since 2006. They represent a major improvement over traditional analytical procedures for evaluation of mixer performance involving the use of cobalt or manganese salts. The authors described the quantitative results of determination and identification of Microtracers in two sets of 20 samples of pet food manufactured by Kormotech LLC with using a proprietary Rotary Detector procedure developed by Micro-Tracers Inc (San Francisco, California). It was shown that analysis of 150 g samples at level of Microtracer addition of 20 g per metric ton of pet food allowed a magnetic retrieval of the number of ferromagnetic particles from 61 to 101 which was sufficient for application of Poisson and Chi-squared statistics. The obtained results from two tests performed with different time of mixing were interpreted in accordance with the requirements of the GMP + BA2 standard. It was determined that mixing within 3 min leads to the marginal mixing with the calculated probability value of 1.12%. The prolonged mixing within 4 min leads to complete mixing with the calculated probability value of 5.93%. The use of ferromagnetic Microtracers in a mixer testing program is justified for such tasks as comparison of mixers with each other, as well as identifying the changes in the technical characteristics of the mixers and their performance occurring during their exploitation. In addition, using microtracers can quickly determine the quality of the mixing equipment when it is purchased.
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