Major Investment Boosts Flavour Capabilities

Significant investment in refurbished laboratories, new equipment and expertise has boosted RSSL's capability in flavour analysis. This includes the investigation of taints and off-flavours, as well as the development and optimisation of flavours. The odour and flavour of food products will often change over time, and during processing/cooking. RSSL can provide expert analysis to understand these changes, and potentially avoid the unwanted off-flavours.

The new equipment now installed at RSSL includes a GC Time Of Flight Mass Spectrometer (GC-TOFMS), which is an essential tool for detecting and identifying the chemicals responsible for both desirable and undesirable odours and flavours. Crucially, this piece of equipment has enhanced sensitivity and provides unequivocal identification of even the tiniest traces of the chemicals responsible for flavours and odours.

New technology has also been added for capturing and testing the volatile chemicals that create the aroma around a product. These so-called headspace chemicals emerge at different times and temperatures, and RSSL's enhanced purge and trap capability will make it easier to collect and analyse aroma profiles. Also relevant to the study of odours are the new GC-Olfactory ports, which will help RSSL evaluate the relative intensity of odours as perceived by human subjects. This same equipment can also be used for recognition of particular odours to relate to certain peaks in the chromatogram, aiding identification of the particular compounds responsible.

RSSL has also added new extraction capabilities including SAFE (solvent assisted flavour extraction), stir bar sorptive extraction (SBSE) and membrane assisted solvent extraction (MASE) plus enhanced thermal desorption options.

According to Dr Kathy Ridgway, a well known expert on flavour analysis, and Technical Specialist in Investigative Analysis at RSSL, "This new investment will provide our team with much better information about the chemicals responsible for both the desirable and undesirable flavours and smells within foods. However, the data alone is not enough. Where we can really help manufacturers is in the interpretation of how this analytical data is related to sensory perception."

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