I've been trying to design an experiment where I want to compare the efficacy of caramelization of a monosaccharide under different pH conditions (the sugar would be placed in buffers of varying pH). The only problem is that I'm really not too sure how I would go about quantifying my findings. Perhaps I could use absorbance as an indicator, whereby I can conclude that the darker the solution becomes, the greater the extent of caramelization. However, I'm not too sure if that would be the most valid approach and I'm wondering if there's any better alternative.

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    $\begingroup$ Do you actually have to be able to carry out the experiment, or is this a "thought experiment"? Have you thought about the reaction(s) occurring during caramelization, and what particular analyte you might target as an indicator of the extent of caramelization? Perhaps caramelization is complex, resulting in many different products, and you would like to obtain a particular distribution of these? Also, do you have a budget? Access to a lab? If so what kind of instrumentation? There are many spectroscopic tools that you could use to solve this. $\endgroup$
    – Buck Thorn
    Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 18:55
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    $\begingroup$ Typically, quality of caramelization is measured by taste ;) $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Commented Jul 29, 2022 at 20:15
  • $\begingroup$ I would use semiquantitative subjective parameters, like discrete visual and taste scales of intensity of brown colour and caramel taste. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 4:21
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    $\begingroup$ Eventually also additional parameter for unpleasant taste presence. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Commented Jul 30, 2022 at 4:52
  • $\begingroup$ Get a high quality digital camera with controlled exposure, color temperature color space etc. and controlled lighting and substrate background. Find camera settings and lighting that discriminates. Possibly a diode array uv-vis spectrometer Try Ocean Optics or Agilent They might sell or loan a used or returned instrument cheap. $\endgroup$
    – jimchmst
    Commented Aug 20, 2023 at 5:14


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