Food Analytical Methods

, Volume 10, Issue 12, pp 4068–4078 | Cite as

Rapid Profiling and Authentication of Vanilla Extracts Using Gas Chromatography-Vacuum Ultraviolet Spectroscopy

  • Inês C. Santos
  • Jonathan Smuts
  • Kevin A. SchugEmail author


Vanilla extracts are widely used as flavoring ingredients in foods, beverages, perfumes, and pharmaceuticals. Due to the high cost of producing high-quality natural extracts, artificial flavorings, such as ethyl vanillin and coumarin, are often used. For food safety and to ensure high-quality products, it is important to differentiate between natural and artificial extracts. In this work, gas chromatography-vacuum ultraviolet spectroscopy (GC-VUV) was used for the determination of natural and artificial flavoring compounds in vanilla extract samples. Since the GC-VUV software is able to deconvolve co-eluting peaks based on their unique VUV/UV absorption spectra (125–240 nm), a compromise between resolution and speed of analysis (6- and 14-min runs on different polarity columns) could be made. LODs between 0.42 and 2.0 μg mL−1 were obtained for the tested flavoring compounds. Vanillin was present in extracts at the highest concentrations, from 108 to 5817 μg mL−1.


Natural product extracts Food adulteration Fingerprint Deconvolution Coumarin Fast gas chromatography 


Compliance with Ethical Standards


Support for this work was provided by VUV Analytics, Inc.

Conflict of Interest

Kevin A. Schug is a member of the scientific advisory board for VUV Analytics, Inc. Jonathan Smuts is an employee of VUV Analytics, Inc. Ines C. Santos declares that she has no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Informed Consent

Not applicable.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Inês C. Santos
    • 1
  • Jonathan Smuts
    • 2
  • Kevin A. Schug
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Chemistry and BiochemistryThe University of Texas at ArlingtonArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.VUV Analytics, Inc.Cedar ParkUSA

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