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Improved aroma profiling of breakfast cereal by automated high-capacity sorptive extraction (HiSorb™)

This study demonstrates the use of high-capacity sorptive extraction, HiSorb™, with multi-step enrichment (MSE) on the Centri® sample extraction and enrichment platform for enhancing the analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) contributing to the overall aroma and flavour of a breakfast cereal product. MSE results showed a more comprehensive sample profile when compared to a single HiSorb extraction and provided improved confidence in the identification of trace-level compounds of interest, such as food additives, contaminants and compounds with potential toxicity.

Introduction

Within the food industry, there is an increasing need to monitor product safety and quality to understand flavour composition, taint and product contamination, and how these relate to both consumer satisfaction and effects on human health. This analysis requires a detailed understanding of individual components, but conventional approaches to sample preparation and GC(–MS) analysis struggle to provide the necessary level of sensitivity.

Traditionally, solid-phase micro-extraction (SPME) has been used to sample VOCs from foods and beverages. SPME offers simple, solventless sampling and is easily automated for high-throughput applications. However, SPME is limited by the amount of sorptive phase (~0.5 μL) and the fragility of the fiber. More recently, thicker sorptive films and stir bar technology have been used to enhance sensitivity; however, the latter approach is limited in scope due to the manual interactions required by the user.

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