How does GC-Sniffing work?

Pioneering state-of-the-art analysis

Need to identify individual compounds in a complex mixture? GC-Sniffing is the ideal method of analysis – and Odournet is leading the field with this sophisticated methodology.

With cutting-edge equipment and in-house facilities, Odournet gives clients the edge when it comes to GC-Sniffing.

GC-Sniffing combines high-end separation techniques with the nose as detector
GC-Sniffing combines high-end separation techniques with the nose as detector

How can we help?

In our GC-Sniffing laboratory, we offer a state-of-the-art analytical system consisting of a thermal desorption unit, a gas chromatograph and a ground-breaking time-of-flight mass spectrometer (GCMS/TOF). These instruments can measure compounds at concentrations sub ppt – about a factor 10 to 100 lower than conventional high-end quadrupole GC-MS systems.

By adding a sniffer port to the gas chromatograph, the system can be used for GC-Sniffing, combining molecular with sensory analysis, for the best of both approaches. The process is as follows:

  1. First, the compounds of an air sample are separated by the chromatographic column.
  2. The eluted compounds are split.
  3. Part of the eluate flows towards the MS detector while the other part flows to the sniffer port, allowing the panellist to smell the compounds that exit the column.
  4. Once the the panellist smells an odorous compound, they describe the odour character and intensity in line with our in-house standard. As both detectors are used simultaneously, the compounds can be smelled at the exact time they enter the mass spectrometer, allowing individual compounds to be identified in complex mixtures.

Need to know more?

Odournet offers excellence in both measurement and result interpretation. Our services are delivered in-house by highly experienced GC-MS specialists and fragrance/flavour experts at our Center of Competence for Molecular Odour Evaluation in Barcelona. All our panellists are selected and trained to meet the stringent requirements of this sophisticated analysis. To guarantee the best possible results, all sensory analyses are carried out by two panellists twice.

If you’d like more information about GC-Sniffing, please email our Head of Molecular Odour Evaluation, Luciano Vera.

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