During ripening, fruits emit a diverse range of low molecular weight compounds arising from various hormonal and metabolic processes. The relative abundances of these volatiles change over time. Ethylene is usually of particular interest because it promotes ripening. Conventional gas chromatography (GC) methodologies are often applied to such analyses, but this is challenging for ethylene and the solvent-type compounds emitted from fruits. A recent application note from a major GC manufacturer link demonstrates this with analysis of low molecular weight species from apple taking over 30 minutes per sample, following incubation at 80 °C for one hour. This approach means that the apple sample is essentially slow-cooked! In this application note, we demonstrate the application of selected ion flow tube mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS) to analysis of small molecules from several fruits demonstrating significantly higher throughput by using automated direct mass spectrometric analysis. Low incubation temperatures and shorter incubation times were used and this application note demonstrates the ability of SIFT-MS to analyse a series of low molecular weight, oxygenated volatiles from fruit. SIFT-MS gave comparable results to the GC-MS method, but in a fraction of the time.
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High-Throughput Analysis of Volatiles from Fruit Using SIFT-MS