Description of Industry

The chemical industry is a vast enterprise that affects everyone’s lives and ranges from large scale production of polymers and petro chemicals to specialty chemicals used for personal care.  Off-odors in chemicals, for example in polymers utilized for plastics, can be a major problem especially if the plastic is used for packaging foods, beverages or personal care items.  VAC specializes in detecting and measuring trace level off-odors caused by unknown contaminants.


Applicable Services

What we do

We are experts in odor analysis and trace level chemical detection and measurement.  Both odor analysis and chemical detection are utilized when we employ gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/ olfactometry.   We also employ expert experimental design, sample prep measures, and statistical analyses to ensure appropriate scientific rigor.

Odor Analysis GC-MS/O

Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/olfactometry provides the very best technique to quickly resolve off-odor issues.  This method requires a trained odor judge to sniff GC effluent and rate odor character and intensity.  This information is coupled by retention time automatically via software to GCMS chromatogram data to allow for rapid odor identification.   Our sensory and analytical team have more than 20 years experience with odor, analytical, and organic chemistry, and sensory analysis.

Odor Baseline Establishment

Baseline GCMS/O measurements have proved extremely helpful to our clients because they establish the aroma and chemical profile of a product considered good.  When odor problems arise new GCMS/O analyses can rapidly determine what chemical changes occurred compared with a product considered good to allow for production process examination and off odor mitigation.

Chemical Profiles

Chemical profile refers to what volatile (and possibly non volatile) chemicals a product exhibits and are characteristic for that product .  At VAC we measure the volatile chemicals a product gives off because only the volatile chemicals cause odor.    By knowing what a products unique profile is, subsequent ingredient changes or processing changes that cause odor problems may be quickly mitigated.

Odor Investigation

We utilize the most advanced scientific techniques and instruments currently available to detect and measure volatile chemicals responsible for odor.  We utilize gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/ olfactometry  to quickly determine what retention index values from a chromatogram correspond with odor.  This capability dramatically improves our capability to identify trace level chemicals responsible for off-odors.

Quantitative Chemical Analysis

The goal of quantitative analysis is to accurately and precisely measure the amount of a chemical (the target chemical is also called analyte).  Quantitative analysis typically involves developing a calibration curve that contains a plot of standard chemical quantity vs. peak area.  Based on the unknown chemical peak area the concentration may be calculated.

Related News, Case Studies, and Blog Posts

What is Off-Odor?

What is off-odor?  The true answer is you’ll know it when you smell it!  Doesn’t have to stink like dead fish or 2 week old ground beef left in the refrigerator, although those certainly are obnoxious.  Off-odor can be a nice fresh floral smell, like that of a rose, only the rose aroma originates from a batch of freshly roasted pecans.  The rose aroma doesn’t belong there.  It detracts from the richness of deep, warm, roasted pecan aroma. Many off-odor projects we tackle at Volatile Analysis involve issues akin to that of rose-pecan.  Aroma chemistry tells us one very common fragrant molecule that has an aroma similar to rose is...

Measurement of Organic Impurities in Water

Approximately 10g of liquid sample (sample A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I and J) were placed in 40mL clear vials and limonene was extracted using SBSE, or Twister, at room temperature for 90min. Twisters were heated to 280oC for 3 minutes inside a thermal desorption unit (TDU). The TDU transfer temp was 280oC and operated in splitless mode with purge time 1.00min. The target volatile generated during thermal desorption of Twister bar were swept onto a cryo-cooled (LN2) inlet liner at -90oC (CIS4 liner in split mode 20:1). The liner contained glass beads for increased adsorption. The liner was heated to 280oC for 3min and volatiles were...

Volatile Analysis Corporation establishes research and development division at HudsonAlpha Institute of Biotechnology

PRESS RELEASE Huntsville, Ala. — Volatile Analysis Corporation has established a research and development division at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology to research volatile metabolites produced by infectious diseases. The goal of the new division is to apply odor-detecting methods to disease detection and develop early warning and rapid, non-invasive, affordable diagnostic tests.   “Volatile signatures of disease can be detected at ultra-trace levels, and techniques are non-invasive,” said Volatile Analysis CEO, Katherine Bazemore. “Our research division at HudsonAlpha is helping identify those volatile signatures and also developing portable technologies to deploy in areas with limited resources.”   Founded in 2007 by Russell and Katherine Bazemore, the team of Ph.D.-level scientists at Volatile Analysis...
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