Analysis of flavor compounds is challenging and time consuming as it requires several lab-based measurements. Based on the flavor source (e.g. natural versus synthetic), flavor formulations can contain several hundred compounds of varying solubility, volatility, concentrations, and stability. A combination of gas chromatography (GC) and liquid chromatography (LC) based methods integrated with mass spectrometry (MS) are typically applied for the identification and quantification of food flavors. These procedures require isolation and concentration of flavor compounds from their food matrix prior to instrument analysis.
This application note demonstrates the utility of DART (direct analysis in real time) and ACQUITY QDa mass detection for rapid, accurate, and cost-effective flavor characterization, for monitoring product quality, and reducing production costs. DART-MS was applied to characterize volatile and semi-volatile flavors in whiskey, chewing gum, and tobacco samples with different characteristic flavors. The flexibility of sample introduction using an ambient ionization technique such as DART combined with the sensitivity of the ACQUITY QDa Mass Detector reduces analysis times, and increases confidence in results compared to conventional methods, making this system more suitable for quality control applications in the food, beverage, and consumer goods industries.