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Food Analysis: Seasonings

PTR-MS aroma analysis of saffron

PTR-MS is ideally suited for quality control of food, e.g. saffron. Saffron is a spice derived from the flower of Crocus sativus, and is among the world's most costly spices by weight.

Despite many attempts in quality control and standardization, saffron adulteration and low product quality still represent considerable problems for the spice industry. 

In a recent publication by Nenadis et al. 2016 minute amounts of saffron were repeatedly analyzed with PTR-MS over a period of five weeks. By using this extremely sensitive and highly selective non-destructive technology the authors could demonstrate that the VOC fingerprints of the saffron samples changed upon storage, and the concentration of the initially dominant VOC safranal decreased progressively. They conclude: "Examination of calculated and recorded fingerprints for various admixtures showed that PTR-MS VOCs analysis, in combination with chemometrics, could be used to screen for the presence of lower quality saffron in a commercial product in a few minutes."

High-throughput screening of food & flavor samples is now even more comfortable and faster, thanks to the IONICON autosampler