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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Athens, Georgia » U.S. National Poultry Research Center » Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #407221

Research Project: Assessment of Quality Attributes of Poultry Products, Grain, Seed, Nuts, and Feed

Location: Quality and Safety Assessment Research Unit

Title: Development of brown egg micro-crack detection system using modified pressure method

item SO, JUN-HWI - Chungnam National University
item JOE, SEONG YONG - Chungnam National University
item HWANG, SEON HO - Chungnam National University
item Yoon, Seung-Chul
item LEE, SEUNG HYUN - Chungnam National University

Submitted to: Journal of Agricultural Machinery Engineering
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/15/2022
Publication Date: 12/20/2022
Citation: So, J., Joe, S., Hwang, S., Yoon, S.C., Lee, S. 2022. Development of brown egg micro-crack detection system using modified pressure method. Journal of Agricultural Machinery Engineering. (2)1: 69-78.

Interpretive Summary: Shell eggs with hairline cracks are highly vulnerable to microbial contamination, posing a significant risk to food safety. Therefore, the timely detection and removal of cracked eggs during processing are of utmost importance. However, the detection of such micro cracks can be particularly challenging due to their minuscule size. To address this issue, the USDA-ARS research team has developed a patented imaging technology that utilizes negative pressure to detect micro-cracked eggs. While this technology achieves exceptional detection accuracy, one drawback is the relatively slow response time required to create the necessary negative pressure (vacuum) within an airtight chamber compared to other rapid detection methods. In this study, collaborative research teams from USDA-ARS in Athens, GA, and Chungnam National University in South Korea have made significant advancements in the cracked egg detection system. By utilizing the negative pressure method, we have successfully reduced the egg inspection time while maintaining a comparable level of accuracy to the original design. To achieve this goal, we have engineered a vacuum chamber that allows for the connection and simultaneous operation of two units, enabling inspection in one chamber while loading eggs into the other. These improvements represent a substantial step forward in the field of cracked egg detection. By improving the efficiency of the negative pressure method, we are strengthening our ability to uphold food safety standards and reduce the potential for microbial contamination in cracked eggs. Through our comprehensive evaluation, we are confident that the micro-cracked egg detection system, utilizing the negative pressure method, can be effectively implemented in small farms and institutions. This implementation would substantially enhance the existing safety and quality control measures associated with egg processing.

Technical Abstract: Cracked egg is susceptible to microbes and can contaminate other normal eggs. Eggs with hairline crack should be removed in advance, but hairline crack on eggs is difficult to detect. There are various techniques for detecting micro-cracked eggs, among which the negative pressure method of expanding cracks in eggs has high accuracy. In this study, cracked egg detection system was developed using the negative pressure method. The negative pressure method can be combined with a machine vision device to accurately detect the micro-cracked egg. A vacuum chamber and vacuum pump have been developed to create negative pressure around the egg. Inside the vacuum chamber, rotating and lighting system were installed to candling and rotating the eggs. The image of the egg was acquired with the camera installed at the top of the chamber, and the micro-crack was identified through the developed image processing algorithm. The key to the algorithm is to identify cracks by comparing an egg image at vacuum with an egg image at atmospheric pressure. In order to compensate for the slow processing speed of the negative pressure method, a vacuum chamber was developed so that two units were connected and performed crosswise. It is judged that the vacuum pressure method-based micro-cracked egg detection system can be effectively used in small farms and institutions.