The fresh and soothing smell of pine. The tantalizing smell of a holiday ham baking in the oven. The mouth-watering flavor of egg nog. The holidays are a time full of wonderful smells that immediately flood your mind with memories of happy holidays past. These smells evoke fond sentiments and bring a smile to your face.
According to Psychology Today, incoming smells are first processed by the olfactory bulb, which has direct connections to areas of the brain that are strongly associated with emotion and memory. Does the smell of your product evoke happy memories for customers?
Taste and smell are incredibly important to consumers—so they should be equally important to manufacturers. GC/MS headspace analysis can be an excellent tool to help ensure that the scent of your products leaves a lasting positive impression on your customers.
What is GC/MS Headspace Analysis?
GC/MS headspace analysis is the characterization of the volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds in solid, liquid or gas samples.
When is GC/MS Headspace Analysis Needed?
If your product has taken on a foul taste, or is giving off a strange smell, GC/MS headspace analysis can be used to identify flavor or odor-causing compounds, as well as residual solvents.
For example, environmental and internal factors could cause chemical changes in soft drinks that taint the flavor or smell of the beverage. Whether it is a process error or a contaminant, headspace analysis can get to the root cause of the issue by identifying all of the present compounds.
Products can also give off unintended odors. For example, that recognizable “new car smell” is actually caused by outgassing from components of the car’s interior and other gasses emitted by components of the car. Some of these smells are actually caused by toxic chemicals, which can be a major concern for consumers.
How Does It Work?
There are two types of headspace analysis: dynamic and static.
In dynamic headspace analysis, a sample is sealed in a container that is heated and then flushed with ultrapure gas. This is done to unleash the volatile organics from the sample. The gas then passes through a sorbent material to collect those volatile organics. The sorbent material is then heated and flushed with gas in the opposite direction, to transfer the collected materials into the head of the gas chromatograph. Mixtures of compounds are then separated in the gas chromatograph and delivered to the mass spectrometer for identification.
In static headspace analysis, the sample is heated in a sealed environment. The gas that is given off is removed from the sample vial and injected into a gas chromatograph. The chromatograph separates components of the gas according to size and polarity. The components are then identified individually with a mass selective detector.
What Are Some More Examples of Headspace Analysis?
In addition to food and beverages, headspace analysis can also be used to identify contaminants or odor-causing compounds in:
- Plastic packaging materials
- Perfumes and colognes
- Pharmaceutical products
- Other consumer goods such as plastic toys
Wonderful smells and tastes—such as those present during the holiday season—can evoke positive memories and emotions. But, bad smells and tastes can do just the opposite. Make sure your product is making a positive impression with GC/MS headspace analysis.
For more information on GC/MS headspace analysis, contact Innovatech Labs today.
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