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Non-destructive methods for the measurement of moisture contents – a review

Divya Nath K. (Department of Control and Automation, VIT University, Vellore, India)
Prabhu Ramanathan (Department of Control and Automation, VIT University, Vellore, India)

Sensor Review

ISSN: 0260-2288

Article publication date: 16 January 2017



The purpose of this paper is to analyze the moisture measurement techniques presently available, as accurate determination of the moisture content (MC) of grains or any food items at right time is very important for its processing, marketing and storing.


There are basically two types of MC measurement techniques – destructive method and non-destructive method. In the time-consuming destructive method, cleaning of the food items is done and shells of food items like peanuts are removed for which man power is required and so the technique becomes costly. A literature review of the existing non-destructive methods has been done, and the methodology of each approach is explained with the figure. The less time-consuming non-destructive technique used to measure MC require less man power, as grains or food items can be directly used without any process like cleaning or crushing so that the technique become economic.


Most of the techniques used magnetic or electric properties to measure the MC indirectly. The problem with existing non-destructive technique is that measurement of MC uses only few numbers or grams of grains or food items at a time.

Research limitations/implications

The farmers’ produce large quantity of grains. The small quantity of grains cannot be the representative sample for whole grains produced by the farmers. Most of the techniques use only small quantity of grains or food items at a time to measure the MC which is not accurate and representative of the produce. Also, the techniques are not simple and easily available. The cost of the techniques or arrangement to measure the MC is not reasonable.

Social implications

Most of the farmers in the developing countries are financially backward. To store the agricultural produce, MC of the commodities is a key factor influencing the quality of the storage. Measurement of the MC of the seeds is thus very important for the farmers.


This paper is a review of the previous research that happened in this area, and it would help the researcher to know the techniques already been used. To the knowledge of the authors, the review of the existing moisture measurement of seeds/agricultural commodities is available in the literature.



Nath K., D. and Ramanathan, P. (2017), "Non-destructive methods for the measurement of moisture contents – a review", Sensor Review, Vol. 37 No. 1, pp. 71-77.



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