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GC/TOF MS application: Food

analysis
Trace component analysis of
food stuffs using GC/TOF MS
(BenchTOF-dx) and TargetView
Both product safety and quality, typically relating to flavour composition, taints and
contamination, are of concern in the food industry, with many regulations in place to
control these. As such, manufacturers are keen to quickly and simply identify compounds
of interest.

TargetView software has been specifically designed to speed up and improve the
identification of target compounds by comparing defined library spectra with sample
spectra. As an example of its application here, samples of potato chips have been
analyzed to identify selective pyrazine (flavour) compounds.

Analysis of pyrazines (flavour compounds) in crisps

For this application the flavour compounds (pyrazines) in potato chips (crisps) were
studied. In order to extract the flavour compounds of the potato chips a Markes
International Micro-Chamber/Thermal Extractor (-CTE) was used with the flavour
compounds collected onto thermal desorption tubes.

The thermal desorption tubes were subsequently analysed in a Markes International


UNITY 2 thermal desorption unit coupled with an Agilent Technologies GC and
ALMSCO BenchTOF-dx time-of-flight mass spectrometer (TOF MS).

Extraction/Sampling Thermal desorption GC conditions: BenchTOF-dx


conditions: conditions:
Micro- Oven 60 C
chamber temp: Desorption for 2 min, Mass range:
40C temperature: then 20 45 - 400 amu
Flow rate: 40 300C for 5 C/min to Transfer line:
mL/min min. 240 C, hold 250C
Trap low - for 2 min MS source:
Emissions 0C, Trap Total run time 200C
collected for high 320C, 5 14.5 min Data rate: 2
10 min onto min. Column: HP- Hz (5000
Tenax TA Trap: General INNOWax spectral
sorbent tubes Polyethylene summations
(25 min purpose trap Glyco per data
equilibration 30 m x 250 point)
time and 10 Split: Single m x 0.25
min sampling split 20:1 m Source
time) voltage: 1.70
Constant flow V
mode

Results from potato chip analysis

The fast data acquisition of BenchTOF-dx produces comprehensive spectral


information with high sensitivity. Its software also applies dynamic background
compensation to eliminate noise ions, resulting in cleaner data which facilitates
compound identification.

TargetView analysis of the data was run against a library of selective pyrazines, in
which a number of pyrazines (2,3 dimethyl pyrazine, 2-ethyl, 5-methyl pyrazine
and 2,6 diethyl pyrazine) were shown present in the sample
TargetView analysis of the data was run against a library of selective pyrazines, in
which a number of pyrazines (2,3 dimethyl pyrazine, 2-ethyl, 5-methyl pyrazine
and 2,6 diethyl pyrazine) were shown present in the sample

Above: Pyrazine target compound identification from potato chips (crisps). Trace level
detection of 2,5-dimethyl pyrazine highlighted
Expanded view (top) showing three (3) very small red bars indicating trace-level detection
of 2,5 dimethyl pyrazine, 2-ethyl, 5-methyl pyrazine and 2,6 diethyl pyrazine. This is also
confirmed with a cross reference against the NIST database

Conclusions

The technique used here has effortlessly generated a list of target pyrazines found in
potato chips. The clear spectral data produced by BenchTOF-dx is ideal for target
compound identification by TargetView.