Natural flavoring materials, such as essential oils, are complex hydrophobic mixtures of volatiles components from natural origin, usually steam distilled or solvent extracted from plants. These oils are widely used as odorants and flavoring ingredients in a variety of consumer products such as perfumes, cosmetics, cleaning products, and also as food and beverage taste enhancers.

The composition of essential oils can vary significantly with place of origin, harvest season and weather. Oils may be blended, cut with other materials, or otherwise adulterated. The quality assessment of the essential oils is therefore of primary importance to assure consistency in the production since even minor differences in the oil composition can lead to significant alteration of the flavor.

An increasing number of accurate quantitative analysis in routine control are required due to stringent regulatory constraints and the possibility to speed up the separation and increase the number of samples per day is extremely appealing.

Due to its robustness and easy applicability, gas chromatography (GC) with FID detection is a common analytical technique used to ascertain EO quality and purity. However, without the support of an MS spectrometer, the full characterization and identification of the compounds is very hard and time-consuming. Besides, the significant cost per analysis and the large number of samples-per-day to be analyzed, are requiring faster response. This paper aims to highlight the analytical performance of a dedicated Fast GC system hyphenated to a new bench top High Speed TOF-MS and set up with a Dual-Detector MS-FID configuration for fast qualitative and quantitative characterization of different essential oils. The analysis time is extremely reduced by using short and narrow bore capillary columns and the high acquisition speed of the DANI MasterTOF allows for mass spectra information and suitable deconvolution of co-eluted components.

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