Sampling the Dish of the Day

Martin Perkins

26th July 2013

Dish of the Day
Using Analytical Science to Create Food that is Delicious and Healthy

In the analysis of consumer products (especially food and beverages), it is often your sample preparation and introduction options that determine what you can and can’t do.

Recently, I came upon this interesting article from the New York Times, that highlights work carried out by PepsiCo and other major food corporations to improve the health-giving qualities of the foods they produce.

The article focuses upon a study carried out to study flavours and aromas created by Californian Chef – H. Alexander Talbot in the kitchens of the Culinary Institute of America(CIA).

Read this and you will see it includes some clues to the analytical technologies involved.

Go to pictures 2 and 3 and close inspection reveals a GERSTEL TDU tube packed with an adsorbent, trapping food volatiles, and picture 6 shows a Twister stir bar (wrongly described as a “sensor”). I would hazard a guess that the “slender filaments” referred to in the article are probably SPME fibers.

So I think it is probable that back in the lab, the GC-MS system would use GERSTEL sample preparation and injection technology. The configuration being the same as, or very similar to, the package that we sell here as the MPS MultiFlex.

When sampling food volatiles, there is no single sampling technique that does everything you need. To get a complete picture, you have to use multiple sampling techniques, in this case, adsorbent tubes sampling, Stir Bar Sorptive Extraction, and Solid Phase Micro Extraction were all used. The beauty of the MPS MultiFlex is that it supports all of these techniques (and many others), enabling you to switch from one technique to another quickly, on the same GC-MS system.

We have a system just like this, set up in our lab in Cambridge. If you would like to know more about how it can help you carry out your work more efficiently, please contact us on 01223 279210, or email and we would be happy to pay you a visit, or arrange for you to visit us.