Characterization of flavors in tobacco products is critical for consumer’s perception of aroma, taste, product quality and branding. Maintaining consistent flavor in tobacco products requires quality control testing to ensure the right flavor is applied to the product at the right levels and the product is free from contamination and off-odors.
Analysis of flavor compounds is challenging and time consuming as it requires several lab based measurements. Based on the source of the flavor (e.g. natural versus synthetic), the flavor formulations can contain a few hundred compounds with varying solubility, volatility, concentrations and stability. A combination of gas chromatography (GC) and liquid chromatography (LC) based methods integrated with mass spectrometry (MS) detection are typically applied for identification and quantification of tobacco flavors. These procedures require isolation and concentration of flavor compounds from the tobacco matrix prior to instrumental analysis.
This application demonstrates the utility of DART-MS technology for rapid, accurate and cost effective flavor characterization, to monitor product quality and reduce production costs. DART-QDa was applied to characterize volatile and semi-volatile flavors in tobacco, whiskey and chewing gums with different characteristic flavors. The flexibility of sample introduction using an ambient ionization technique like DART combined with the sensitivity of QDa detector reduces analysis and decision making time compared to conventional methods and makes this system suitable for quality control applications in the tobacco, food, beverage and consumer goods industries.