Sample preparation for the analysis of flavors and off-flavors in foods

Department of Health and Human Services, Food and Drug Administration, National Center for Toxicological Research, Jefferson, AR 72079, USA.
Journal of Chromatography A (Impact Factor: 4.17). 07/2000; 880(1-2):3-33. DOI: 10.1016/S0021-9673(00)00318-6
Source: PubMed


Off-flavors in foods may originate from environmental pollutants, the growth of microorganisms, oxidation of lipids, or endogenous enzymatic decomposition in the foods. The chromatographic analysis of flavors and off-flavors in foods usually requires that the samples first be processed to remove as many interfering compounds as possible. For analysis of foods by gas chromatography (GC), sample preparation may include mincing, homogenation, centrifugation, distillation, simple solvent extraction, supercritical fluid extraction, pressurized-fluid extraction, microwave-assisted extraction, Soxhlet extraction, or methylation. For high-performance liquid chromatography of amines in fish, cheese, sausage and olive oil or aldehydes in fruit juice, sample preparation may include solvent extraction and derivatization. Headspace GC analysis of orange juice, fish, dehydrated potatoes, and milk requires almost no sample preparation. Purge-and-trap GC analysis of dairy products, seafoods, and garlic may require heating, microwave-mediated distillation, purging the sample with inert gases and trapping the analytes with Tenax or C18, thermal desorption, cryofocusing, or elution with ethyl acetate. Solid-phase microextraction GC analysis of spices, milk and fish can involve microwave-mediated distillation, and usually requires adsorption on poly(dimethyl)siloxane or electrodeposition on fibers followed by thermal desorption. For short-path thermal desorption GC analysis of spices, herbs, coffee, peanuts, candy, mushrooms, beverages, olive oil, honey, and milk, samples are placed in a glass-lined stainless steel thermal desorption tube, which is purged with helium and then heated gradually to desorb the volatiles for analysis. Few of the methods that are available for analysis of food flavors and off-flavors can be described simultaneously as cheap, easy and good.

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