Reliable quality control using impartial flavour signatures

Quality control in general (raw material, intermediate and finished products) same as authentication plays a more and more important role nowadays in the food and flavour industry.

The G.A.S. set-up of IMS in combination with a gas chromatographic pre-separation and when equipped with an automatic headspace sampler to achieve easy and reliable sampling stands out with unique characteristics in several quality control related applications. Due to the physical working principle of GC-IMS technology maximum analytical reliability is achieved

Further to the systems reliability the outstanding sensitivity of IMS of low ppb/µg/L-range –which for many compounds is comparable to the range of the human nose- allows to test the sample “as is”, omit any sample pre-treatment and by that avoid a change of its characteristics. The FlavourSpec same as GC-IMS stand out through a very easy to use menu that was particularly developed to serve as straightforward analytical approach to be carried by non-academic personnel. These advantages are used to provide impartial analytical results without mayor efforts or requirements to efficiently support sensory panels and avoid time and labour-intensive GC-MS analysis. G.A.S. provides different instrumental set-ups: Directly attached to the process using the GC-IMS ‘on-line’ or at line using the FlavourSpec® for headspace analysis of solids and liquids both system to either detect/identify and quantify single compounds/markers using the ‘GCxIMS Library Search’ software tool which is based on the Kovats (retention indices) of the NIST. Alternatively the whole peak pattern of the GC-IMS chromatogram can be analyzed to quickly and result orientated test for:

  • Food freshness, storage conditions, best before date
  • Determination of diacetyl and pentandion during the beer brewing process

  • Quality control of commodities and finished products:

    -        Ingredients and herbs

    -        olive oil

    -        hops

    -        fish, meat

    -        diary products

    -        fruit juices and other mixtures



Product Quality Control

Reliable quality control using impartial flavour signatures

Compared to conventional analytical equipment G.A.S. instruments allow a very straight forward and still reliable analytical approach to test gaseous samples same as directly from the headspace of raw materials, intermediates and finished products.

Our unique combination of a gas chromatograph in combination with an IMS as detector plus sampler changer assures an easy and reliable sampling, ideally targeted to several quality control related applications where reliability is critical. 

G.A.S. systems provide outstanding sensitivity in the low ppb/µg/L-range –which for many compounds is comparable to the range of the human nose- so that samples can be analyzed “as is”.

By that time consuming and laborous sample handling and pre-treatment steps that can change their characteristics can be avoided.

Very easy to use menu developed to serve as a straightforward approach for non-academic personnel. 

Efficiently support sensory panels with impartial analytical results without significant effort or requirements, avoiding time and labour-intensive GC-MS analysis.

Our instruments can be used in different set-ups: Directly attached to the process using the GC-IMS as ‘on-line’ monitoring device or 'at line' using the FlavourSpec® for headspace analysis of solids and liquids. 

Both systems can detect/identify and quantify single compounds/markers using the ‘GCxIMS Library Search’ software, or alternatively peak pattern analysis to provide result orientated tests for:

  1. Food freshness, storage conditions, best before date 
  2. Determination of VDKs diacetyl and pentanedione during the beer brewing process
  3. Quality control of commodities and finished products:
    1. Ingredients and herbs
    2. olive oil
    3. hops
    4. fish, meat
    5. diary products
    6. fruit juices and other mixtures 
  4. Product authentication (habitat, detection of frauds, counterfeits)
  5. Impartial prove of product flavours
  6. Support of sensory panels
  7. Early Detection of off-smells
  8. Flavour composition, Blending (green tea, coffee, cigarettes etc) 
  9. Product adulteration under specific storage conditions
  10. Optimisation of manufacturing process
  11. Outgasing VOCs from packaging/plastics/papers 

Gas Monitoring in Industry and Process Control

Monitoring of ambient air with respect to industrial gases, contaminants like toxic industrial chemicals (TICs) or other volatile organic compounds (VOCs) causing bad smell become more important to the industry every day. This is due to a more demanding environmental legislation and cost-by-cause principle. Therefore e.g. stack monitoring or odour mapping are assignments where sensitive, reliable and rugged analytical instrument that go beyond common sensor technologies like the GC-IMS are needed

G.A.S. analytical systems can be adopted to various environmental and process control related applications by adjusting sampling, operating mode and  data analysis in a way its customers can take maximum benefit from. Robustness, rare need of maintenance and the easiness of operation are the premises for an industrial environment and technical personnel. 

The IMS-technology as applied by G.A.S. comprises these premises with the outstanding sensitivity for the detection of volatile compounds and gases, respectively. Smart result-evaluation concepts, learnable in few days without the need of an analytical background, complete this straightforward approach and allows to bring a highly sophisticated instrument on-site. Doing so it becomes feasible to transfer the point of analysis to the place where instant results are needed while avoiding measurement mistakes (human factor) through an easy-to-use menu and by that assuring reliable and reproducible results.

Volatile Compounds in Human Breath

Like all living organism humans exchange VOC with the environment. Respiration, as the primary exchange route, does not only supply oxygen and remove carbon dioxide, but breath also carries compounds at trace level that carry information on e.g. metabolism, absorbed substances and microbial population of the respiratory ducts. Its analysis can therefore give inside about pathogenic processes and events.

G.A.S. offers analytical devices for the analysis of volatile compounds at trace levels. Due to the outstanding sensitivity of the ion-mobility-spectrometry used as detector breath can directly be sampled without the need for any pre-concentration. Equipped with a gas chromatographic pre-separation volatile compounds can separately be quantified within one single measurement [1].

The BreathSpec® operates on a stand-alone base and allows a direct exhaling into the device. The sampling is highly reproducible as it is controlled by an integrated spirometer with embedded sensors based on a CO2 and flow measurement. Due to an integrated pneumatic system (heated gas ways, electrical six-port valve and integrated pump) samples are introduced directly in a controlled manner according to the measurement/operation requirements. G.A.S. furthermore developed a low-cost set-up to sample breath in standard disposable syringes. The breath then can be analyzed using the GC-IMS equipped with a Luer-adaptor. This is the most flexible way of sampling since the configuration accepts gaseous samples from any source and can actively sample in static- and dynamic gas spaces. Therefore it is possible to investigate the gas phase in e.g. nose- or mouth- cavities or even from the skin. Since the Luer tip is a standard adaptor used in a wide range of medical equipment sampling can be done on e.g. intubated patients.

Both devices and sampling methods are designed to be non-invasive and non-aggravating to the proband. For sampling only one breath cycle is sufficient. Typical runtimes of the analysis are 10 minutes. Examples for detectable compounds in healthy human breath are isoprene, short chained alcohols, aldehydes and ketones, acetonitril, nitric oxide*, dimethylsulfide, further sulphur-compounds*.* Analysis in negative polarization mode of the IMS

[1] Ruzsanyi, V.; Baumbach, J.I.; Sielemann, S.; Litterst, P.; Westhoff, M.; Freitag, L.: Detection of human metabolites using multi-capillary columns coupled to ion mobility spectrometers, J. Chromatographia A 1084 (1-2) (2005) 145-151

Measurable Substances

Exemplary list of compounds, detection limits and matrices.
Further compounds on request.

List of measurable substances

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