Market Insight

Water activity and tobacco

Curing tobacco causes changes in both chemical composition and moisture.  Tightly controlling moisture allows quality control managers to deliver a consistent product.

Measuring moisture

For a particular product, water activity and moisture are linked: if one goes up, so does the other.  So if you want a better way to measure moisture, water activity can give it to you.  Why? Water activity meters are much more sensitive to changes in moisture than most moisture content meters.  This is because on dry tobacco products, a tiny change in moisture creates a large change in water activity.  When compared with AOAC approved moisture methods like oven drying, water activity gives you about 10x more precision.

Fungal growth

“Wet” agricultural products are susceptible to fungal growth until their water activities are brought into a lower range.  Usually, this means getting your product under the water activity level of 0.7aw as soon as you can.  Measuring water activity will always tell you if your product is at risk, regardless of which product you’re measuring.  

Regulatory compliance

Tobacco products are regulated by the FDA, and water activity is the only moisture-related reading that is accepted by the FDA as a critical control point.

Products

AQUALAB 3

Lightning-fast total moisture analysis to tighten process control and boost quality. Combine moisture content and water activity in one device.

  • MC + aw in one
  • Results in 60 seconds
  • For the lab or the line

AQUALAB TDL 2

Precise aw readings in minutes — even on volatile samples that cripple other instruments.

  • Near-invincible laser sensor
  • Read highly volatile substances
  • Accurate to ±0.005 aw

AQUALAB 4TE

Fast. Precise. Reliable. Meet the renowned instrument that brought water activity to the business world.

  • aw in <5 min.
  • Highly compliant + compatible
  • Secure data storage

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