Bone Content Analysis for Dry and Wet Pet Food Manufacturers

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Ash content in pet foods is a critical parameter that must be controlled in order to maintain proper formulation and avoid digestive issues in pets. Ash content correlates closely with bone content which has traditionally been measured using chemical titration, but rapid alternatives such as ash analysis offer comparable results in significantly less time. The Phoenix BLACK™ microwave muffle furnace analyzes ash content in both raw ingredients and finished products in approximately 30 minutes, without the use of chemical reagents.


The global pet food market, valued at nearly 100 billion USD, is expected to continue to grow as pet ownership gains in popularity. Increasing consumer awareness regarding natural and organic pet food products has forced pet food manufacturers to shift their focus from synthetic to natural products, which have acted as one of the major forces impacting the global market. Convenience benefits related to dry organic and natural pet food is projected to drive the product demand, though wet foods still comprise a significant size of the market, due to advantages of palatability and certain health benefits, making it easier to digest for pets with health issues.

Nearly all pet foods contain meat as an ingredient. As a result, ash content in pet foods is comprised primarily of bone. One thing all pet food formulations require, whether wet or dry, is the proper amount of ash content. As a general rule of thumb, ash or bone content must be controlled at 2% or less of the final product. If bone content reaches a level greater than 2%, digestion issues can occur. Conversely, bone is a very low cost component, so controlling the manufacturing process to include the proper levels of bone content allows for formulation cost optimization.

The Phoenix BLACK is a rapid ashing system that removes all organic material in a pet food sample, leaving nothing but mineral content (i.e. bone and any added mineral supplements) behind. In this application note, we show the repeatability of ash content measurements via Phoenix BLACK.