The Characterisation and Development of a Passivated Inlet to Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS)
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
SIFT-MS is a relatively new trace gas analysis technique that has wide application. One particular attribute of the instrument is the ability to detect and quantify volatile organic compounds to the parts per trillion in real-time without the need for sample preparation. However the issue of maintaining accuracy at these low concentrations required attention as it was evident large or polar analytes were being lost by adsorption to the SIFT instrument’s inlet system. The purpose of this research was to evaluate the performance of a passivated inlet in lowering any adsorption in the inlet system compared to the current unpassivated inlet of the SIFT instrument. Volatile concentrations of vanillin (C₈H₈O₃ 152.15 g/mol), ammonia (NH₃ 17.03 g/mol), and hydrogen sulfide (H₂S 34.08 g/mol) were measured. The results determined the passivated inlet provided a significantly better inlet response to these compounds. Consequently improved passivated inlets were installed on current models of SIFT-MS VOICE200®, and also the research laboratory VOICE100™ instrument. Having established a more reliable sampling system for very low concentrations of analyte, attention was paid to SIFT-MS flavour analysis of two foods, cheese and chocolate. The volatile matrix of these foods is highly complex and the compounds of interest are typically difficult to measure. The key aroma compounds for analysis were based on reported literature and earlier SIFT-MS studies which provided a useful framework for the current food flavour research. A significant finding from the SIFT-MS examination of Parmesan cheese is that differences in the relative concentration of some characteristic aroma compounds were a consequence of the milk type used in manufacture. Endogenous enzymes responsible for a multitude of reactions are mostly if not completely inactivated by the pasteurization temperature. A similar analysis approach was attempted for chocolate analysis. Here flavour differences were not as clearly recognised as for the cheese samples. In chocolate there are a greater number of parameters that are involved in its manufacture. Nevertheless, some recognisable differences in chocolate could be attributed to cocoa bean type and flavour additions by the manufacturer.