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Profiling Volatile Compounds in Foods and Beverages

Martin Perkins

9th October 2011


The Water of Life

The Water of Life

Food and beverages usually contain plenty of non-volatile material (sugars, salt, proteins etc.), so pre-treatment of the sample is essential to prevent contamination of the inlet and column of the GC-MS used for the analysis.

Headspace analysis, in its various guises, is very kind to your GC-MS. With headspace sampling, only volatile constituents are transferred from the sample into the analyser. Everything that goes in at one end, comes out of the other end.

Static Headspace is very useful, but a bit more sensitivity wouldn’t go amiss. Which is where Dynamic Headspace comes into the picture…

Kevin MacNamara (Irish Distillers) and Kaj Petersen (GERSTEL) have just published an article in The Column (K. McNamara; K. Petersen; The Column 7(13), 2-9 (2011)), on the profiling of Whiskey using a combination of static and dynamic headspace sampling to analyse both high and low concentration components using a single instrumental set-up.

This article neatly illustrates the value of using a universal automation platform, like the GERSTEL Multi-Purpose Sampler (MPS). Often, the solution to a tricky analytical problem doesn’t sit with a single sample preparation technique, but instead lies in a combination of schemes, in order to provide the complete picture.

You can find an introduction here to how Dynamic Headspace Sampling works.