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Hibiscus Macaroon: Chemical and Microbiological Analysis Report

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Updated: Jul 20th, 2021


Food analysis is essential in the food industry because it guarantees safety, quality, and nutrition to consumers. According to Nielsen (2017), international bodies, governments, and manufacturers collaborate in setting standards of food production to protect consumers from poor nutrition and contamination. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Food Standards Australian New Zealand (FSANZ), and independent bodies have formulated elaborate standards, which stipulate the chemical composition and microbial content of various types of food. Therefore, this report undertakes food analyses of hibiscus macaroon to determine its nutritional composition and microbiological contaminants.

Chemical Analysis


Methods of food analysis were utilized to evaluate the chemical composition of hibiscus macaroon. Chemical analysis was determined using methods established by the Association of Analytical Communities (AOAC) and described by Haghi and Carvajal-Millan (2014). The AOAC offers robust, sensitive, and specific methods of food analysis methods that generate valid and accurate results. The use of established methods allows the comparison of results with food standards in various jurisdictions. In this case, the study compared results with standards of FSANZ.

Hibiscus macaroon was prepared in the same way as the product used in the experiment for food analysis. To produce a homogenous mixture, the sample was blended thoroughly. Moreover, the sample was stored at freezing conditions (-180C) to ensure integrity and maintain the quality of food during analysis.

Results of Chemical Analysis

Table 1 indicates components of hibiscus macaroon analyzed and values of each sample, means, and their respective standard deviations. Food analysis examined three samples (n = 3) and assessed crude fat, moisture content, total solids, and ash per 100g of the sample (g/100g).

Table 1: Results of Chemical Analysis.

Component Samples Mean Standard Deviation
Crude Fat
  1. 8.126%
  2. 9.334%
  3. 9.040%
8.833g/100g 0.630
  1. 12.385%
  2. 12.250%
  3. 12..097%
12.318g/100g 0.001
Total solids
  1. 87.615 g/100g
  2. 87.75g/100g
  3. 87.903 g/100g
87.755g/100g 0.143
  1. 2.073g/100g
  2. 2.094g/100g
  3. 2.019g/100g
2.061g/100g 0.038
Carbohydrates 76.83g/100g

Crude Fat

Soxhlet method was used to determine the percent of crude fat in hibiscus macaroon. The principle of the Soxhlet method entails evaporation, concentration, and extraction of lipid from food material due to its limited solubility (Nielsen 2014). To enhance the extraction of lipids, the Soxhlet method used ethyl ether as solvent. The appendix section provides a detailed procedure employed in the extraction of fat using the Soxhlet method. The sample of hibiscus macaroon used in the extraction of fatwas dried in air for a day to remove excess water. Results depict that fat comprised 8.833±0.630g per 100g of the food sample.

Moisture Content

The method of evaporation and drying was used in assessing the moisture content of food. The appendix has an elaborate procedure that the study employed in testing the moisture content of three samples of hibiscus macaroon. Moisture content is a critical component of food because it determines the quality and shelf life (Parker & Pace 2016). In essence, the excess moisture content in food encourages the growth of microbes and spoilage, leading to reduced quality and safety. The findings (Table 1) show that the moisture content formed 12.318±0.001g per 100g of hibiscus macaroon.

Total Solids

Drying was the method utilized to evaluate total solids in hibiscus macaroon. The principle of drying encompasses the evaporation of moisture from the food sample to obtain the solid material (Nielsen 2014). The drying of food samples should occur at a specific temperature and duration to allow evaporation of all water but prevent the loss of volatile compounds (Nielsen 2017). High temperatures and a long duration of drying would give inaccurate results because they change the mass of the food matrix. The amount of total solids is relatively the inverse of moisture content because it entails evaporation of water and quantification of solid materials in food. Findings in Table 1 indicate that total solids constitute 87.755g (SD = 0.143) in every 100g of the food sample.

Ash Content

The use of extreme heat treatment by burning was the method used in determining the quantity of ash of the food sample. The appendix demonstrates the procedure used in determining the ash content of hibiscus macaroon.

As a method of food analysis, burning destroys the organic component of food and leaves the inorganic component intact (Parker & Pace 2016). The principle of burning is that extreme heat completely oxidizes all organic compounds because they cannot withstand high temperatures, unlike minerals. The amount of ash reflects the overall quantity of minerals, which is critical in assessing the nutritional value of food. Further analysis of ash allows the determination of the proportions of each mineral in a specific food. Results (Table 1) show that hibiscus macaroon has 2.061g (SD = 0.038) in every 100g of hibiscus macaroon.


Food analysis shows that carbohydrates comprise a significant proportion of the food sample. Specifically, the subtraction of ash, fat, and moisture from the total mass gives an approximate amount of carbohydrates in hibiscus macaroon. Since the determination of carbohydrates applies an indirect method, it is prone to errors.

The formula of determining the amount of carbohydrates:

Total carbohydrates = total sample – (moisture + fat + ash) = 100g – (12.318g + 8.833g + 2.061g) = 100g – (23.17g) = 76.83g

Nutrient Information Panel

The findings of food analysis were used to formulate nutrient information panel of hibiscus macaroon. Thus, the nutrient information panel of hibiscus macaroon will contain the following details on the packaging.

Table 2: Nutritional Information Panel.

Servings per packet: 10
Size of serve: 50g
Component Quantity per serve Quantity per 100g
Energy 650Kj 1300Kj/100g
Crude Fat 4.16g 8.833g/100g
Moisture 6.16g 12.318g/100g
Total solids 43.88g 87.755g/100g
Ash 1.03g 2.061g/100g
Carbohydrates 38.42g 76.83g/100g
Sodium 125mg 250mg/100mg

The amount of energy was determined by summing up the energy of various components of the food sample, according to the proportions of chemical analysis. The amount of sodium in the food sample is an estimation based on the average amount value of competing products in the market. Hence, further tests are necessary to establish an accurate amount of sodium in the food sample.

Comparison of results of the chemicals analysis of the food sample to other brands of the gluten-free cakes in the market sets the nutritional claim of hibiscus macaroon.

Table 3: Green’s Golden Butter Cake (Gluten-Free).

Servings per packet: 12
Size of serve: 65g
Component Quantity per serve Quantity per 100g
Energy 923Kj 1420Kj/100g
Total Fat 8g 13g/100g
Protein 2g 4g/100g
Sugars 23g 36g/100g
Carbohydrates 34g 53g/100g
Sodium 215mg 331mg/100mg

According to the standards of FSANZ, the determination of energy content and components of foods requires a comparison of nutritional information per 100g and per serving. The energy content of hibiscus macaroon is 1300Kj/100g, which is lower than that of Green’s golden butter cake (1420Kj/100g). The total fat in hibiscus macaroon (8.833g/100g) is less when compared to that in Green’s golden butter cake (13g/100g). Hibiscus macaroon is gluten-free because it lacks proteins, unlike Green’s golden butter cake that has 4g per 100g. Carbohydrate level in hibiscus macaroon (76.83g/100g) is more than that in Greens golden butter cake (53g/100g). The sodium level is also lower in hibiscus macaroon (250mg/100g) than in Green’s golden butter cake (331mg/100g).

Nutritional Claim

The nutritional claim of hibiscus macaroon is a low-calorie diet because it has lower levels of total energy, fats, and carbohydrates than other competing brands in the market. Moreover, since hibiscus macaroon lacks proteins, it is a gluten-free diet.

Microbiological Analysis


Since food is prone to contamination by microbes, microbiological analysis is necessary to ensure the safety of consumers. FSANZ has developed elaborate standards that guide manufacturers in hygienic practices of processing and handling food to prevent pathogenic microbes (Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2016). Food in the category of ready-to-eat (RTE) requires strict adherence to hygienic practices because consumers eat them without cooking. In this case, hibiscus macaroon falls in the second category of RTE food because it is prone to contamination when handling during sale and consumption.

According to Food Australia New Zealand (2016), food in the second category should have microbial levels of 104, 104-106, and more than106 colony forming units (CFU) per gram of food, which represents satisfactory, marginal, and unsatisfactory degrees of safety respectively. In this case, the study employed the standard plate count (SPC) to determine the level of pathogenic microbes in hibiscus macaroon.

Table 4 summarizes possible sources, causes, and effects of pathogenic microbes that would affect hibiscus macaroon.

Table 4: Pathogenic Microbes of ‘Hibiscus Macaroon’.

Pathogenic Microbe Sources Causes Effects
Pathogenic Bacillus spp. such as Bacillus cereus Spores from raw milk and vegetables Poor storage and insufficient acidification of food Spores are heat resistant, and thus germinate and grow after cooking
Clostridium perfringens Soil, decaying vegetation, insect, and human gut Warm food for an extended duration or slow cooling of food stimulates the growth of pathogens Production of spores that grow and infect other foodstuffs
Staphylococci pathogens Environment and humans Human contamination Secrete toxins that cause food poisoning
Campylobacterspp. The gut of domestic and wild animals, raw eggs, raw meat, raw milk, and contaminated water Cross-contamination between raw and cooked food, and poor hygiene Bloody diarrhea, fever, and periodontitis due to food poisoning
Escherichia coli Contaminated animal products Poor handling and processing of food Vomiting, fever, and diarrhea
Listeria monocytogenes Human and animal gut Poor hygienic practices and cooking methods Febrile gastroenteritis and listeriosis
Salmonella spp. Contaminated environment, birds, and animal guts Cross-contamination and poor hygienic conditions Typhoid fever and diarrhea

Table 5 indicates guidelines used in the determination of the level of microbial pathogens, namely, potentially hazardous (PH), unsatisfactory (US), marginal (M), and satisfactory (S). The microbiological analysis tested different pathogenic microbes and determined whether they meet safety standards to prevent them from causing diseases among consumers.

Table 5: Microbial Limits in RTE (cfu/g).

Test PH US M S
Standard Plate Count (SPC)
The second category of RTE Food <106 104 – ≤106 <104
Pathogenic Bacillus spp. such as Bacillus cereus >105 103 – ≤105 102 – ≤ 103 <102
Clostridium perfringens 105 103– ≤ 105 102 – ≤103 <102
Staphylococci pathogens >104 103 – ≤ 10­4 102 – 103 <102
Campylobacterspp. Detectable in 25g Not detectable in 25g
Escherichia coli >102 3 – ≤ 102 <3
Listeria monocytogenes Detectable in 25g Not detectable in 25g
Salmonella spp. Detectable in 25g Not detectable in 25g
Pathogenic Bacillus spp. such as Bacillus cereus 105 103– ≤ 105 102 – ≤103 <102
Clostridium perfringens 105 103– ≤ 105 102 – ≤103 <102

Table 6 indicates microbial standard requirements as set by Woolworths Quality Assurance (Woolworths 2013)

Table 6: Microbial Limits According to Woolworths Quality Assurance.

Pathogens Limits (cfu/g)
Standard plate count <100,000cfu/g
Coliforms <100cfu/g
Yeast <1,000cfu/g
Molds <1,000cfu/g
Staphylococci <100cfu/g
Enterobacteria <1000cfu/g
Salmonella Note detectable in 25 g
Bacillus cereus <100 cfu/g

Microbiological Results

The study permed microbiological analysis by adhering to the procedure described in the laboratory manual. Streak and pour plate methods were used in culturing microbes in diluted food samples. Food in liquid form was diluted ten, a hundred, and thousand times respectively to make dilutions of 10-1, 10-2, and 10-3 respectively. Solid food was diluted ten times to make a dilution of 10-1.

Tests Sample Dilutions Microbial levels Method
Coliform 10-1 <10cfu/g Pour
VRBA 10-1 <10cfu/g
10-2 <100cfu/g
10-2 <100cfu/g
TPC <100cfu/g
Baird-Parker agar 10-1 <200cfu/g Spread
Staphylococci 10-1 <400cfu/g
10-2 <100cfu/g
10-2 <100cfu/g
TPC <200 cfu/g
Malt extract 10-1 <10cfu/g Pour
Yeast + Mold 10-1 <10cfu/g
10-2 <100cfu/g
10-2 <100cfu/g
10-3 <1000cfu/g
10-3 <1000cfu/g
TPC <100cfu/g
McConkey Agar 10-1 <10cfu/g Pour
Enterobacteria 10-2 <100cfu/g
10-2 <100cfu/g
10-3 <1000cfu/g
10-3 <1000cfu/g
PTC <400cfu/g

A comparison of total plate count (TPC) of microbes in hibiscus macaroon and standard plate count (SPC) indicates slight variation. As shown in Table 6, total plate counts of coliforms, yeast, molds, and enterobacteria are less than the stipulated limits. However, the total plate count of staphylococci is higher than recommended limits, which is the marginal level of 102-103 config/g.

Safety Claim

Based on the results of the microbiological analysis, the claim is that hibiscus macaroon is safe for consumers because counts of microbes are within satisfactory and marginal levels.


CalorieKing 2018, Green’s gluten-free golden butter cake, prepared as directed. Web.

Food Standards Australia New Zealand 2016, Compendium of microbiological criteria for food. Web.

Haghi, AK & Carvajal-Millan, E 2014, Food composition and analysis: methods and strategies, CRC Press, New York, NY.

Nielsen, SS 2017, Food analysis, Springer International Publishing, Cham, Switzerland.

Parker, R & Pace, M 2016, Introduction to food science and food systems, 2nd edn, Cengage Learning, New York, NY.

Woolworths 2013, WQA v8 appendix 2: microbiological and chemical requirements. Web.

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