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Paper & Packaging

Description of Industry

Paper and packaging affect aroma and flavor of all manner of products when the paper or corrugated product releases odorous chemicals.  This my be detrimental.  For example the odor of warm corrugated may conflict with the odor of a fresh cheese pizza.  Also there is chemical transfer between paper and corrugated products that are in contact with plastics (plastics absorb odors like  a sponge), or are in direct contact with foods.  VAC specializes in characterizing, detecting and measuring off-odors.

 

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.

Sensory Panel Creation

VAC offers unique capabilities in sensory and analytical.  In support of our off-odor work we routinely convene sensory panels.  The most frequently used include quantitative descriptive analysis (QDA) where a descriptive panel is trained for measuring product attributes.  We also conduct threshold testing in various media.  This is particularly useful when assessing how problematic specific odorants are in a given product formulation.

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.

Odor Strategy Development

Strategies depend on variables such as the state of material (liquid, solid, gas), chemical type of suspected odorant (some chemicals must be treated different due to unique characteristics), quantity of material available, accuracy of odor descriptors, to name a few.

Based on answers to an initial questionnaire we will utilize the most appropriate and advanced scientific techniques and instruments currently available to detect and measure volatile chemicals responsible for odor.

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...

Identification of Off-Odors in Corrugated

Organoleptic assessment revealed overall aroma intensity of the suspect corrugated was similar in character, but stronger than normal. Upon headspace volatile extraction with a proprietary device equipped with thermal desorption tubes, and analysis by GC-MS/O, and GC-MS, it was determined there were 3 furan species extracted from suspect corrugated sample headspace only. Furans are indicative of heat treatment. Following a review of processing parameters, it was discovered the suspect corrugated lot was subjected to elevated temperatures during production. A sour milk odor associated with a suspect lot of corrugated was sent to the VAC lab for analysis. Upon headspace volatile extraction with a proprietary device equipped with thermal desorption tubes, and...

Statistics of Sensory Assessment: Cohen’s Kappa

Statistics of Sensory Using people as diagnostic sensors produces more variation than instrumental methods. There are situations where the benefits of human-based measures outweigh their inconsistency. This is particularly true for aromas and flavors. Choosing, training and aligning panelists is a big investment. If sensory activities are key to your business success, you need to know how well your system is performing. Evaluating sensory judge quality can be challenging. Between-judge agreement appears simple, yet it is critical to success. Cohen's Kappa One approach to evaluating agreement involves Cohen’s Kappa. For example, the judges measure a set of standards for intensity, using four levels. The collected impressions are then compared. A Kappa table looks like...