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