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Thread: Gcms

  1. #1
    Basenotes Member Javiero's Avatar
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    Default Gcms

    I am curious about the GCMS analysis of fragrances, and I would like to know more about it.

    Any of you have any experience about it, outside the big fragrance houses? Are there any independent companies that offer this service for a fee? What about the cost ? How precise are the results ?

    I will appreciate your comments, thanks!

  2. #2
    Super Member jsparla's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gcms

    Hi Javiero,

    i have no personal experience, but i know Linda from Perfumers Apprentice offers it as a paid service:
    http://shop.perfumersapprentice.com/..._analysis.html

    I thought it is somewhere around €200, but that's just a figure i seem to remember from my brains Long Term Storage Department ;-)

    Best,
    Jeroen.

    Your'e welcome to visit my formulation blog, with a dozen of perfume formulations and accords to share!

  3. #3
    Basenotes Member Javiero's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gcms

    Thanks, Jeroen. I will ask Linda and see what does she say.

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    David Ruskin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gcms

    GC/MS analysis of a fragrance will give you a list of chemicals and the amount of each chemical present. It will not tell you if the chemical was added as such or as part of an Essential Oil. It will not tell you what Oils are there. It will also, not show every single chemical present in the fragrance. Some chemicals are used at very low levels (and some are present in Essential Oils at very low levels), so low that the GC/MS doesn't see them. It is necessary to employ a technique called Sniffing GC, where as each chemical is separated from the mixture, you can smell it emerging from the machine. Using GC/MS helps enormously in the matching of Fragrances, but it does not give the complete picture.

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    Super Member otocione's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gcms

    Actually, modern GC/MS can detect very low amounts of substances. The common detection limits are much lower than the odor threshold of any known sbustance (ppt versus ppb or higher), which means GC/MS tells you pretty much everything you can smell in a perfume. Nevertheless it's true that you will have no clue if the molecules detected come from natural or synthetic source.
    Sebastiano - Organic Chemist

  6. #6

    Default Re: Gcms

    I had one done long ago and Davids expertise tells you exactly why it isn't a revelation. It was impossible to tell what is what without a concise knowledge of what constitutes each EO used originally. It was possible to make an educated(ish) guess but it didn't reveal any secrets really. Even if one had that aspect spelled out by a chemist then it wouldn't presumably be possible to get identical ingredients anyway. It certainly wasn't the happy ending that was desired by such an expense. Pretty much none the wiser really for an accurate recipe as such.

    I would prefer to trust my nose I think or not even try making an old frag. Best to look forwards.

  7. #7
    David Ruskin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gcms

    Quote Originally Posted by otocione View Post
    Actually, modern GC/MS can detect very low amounts of substances. The common detection limits are much lower than the odor threshold of any known sbustance (ppt versus ppb or higher), which means GC/MS tells you pretty much everything you can smell in a perfume. Nevertheless it's true that you will have no clue if the molecules detected come from natural or synthetic source.
    In my experience this isn't true. The threshold limit of several substances used in perfumery, and found in Essential Oils is parts per billion. The odour threshold of Fufuryl Mercaptan is 0.005 ppb. The odour threshold of a variety of Pyrazines ranges from 0.00001 to 6.0 ppb. A GC/MS analysis of a mixture of Bergamot Oil and Petitgrain Bigarade Oil will not tell you even if Petitgrain is present. Only by smelling will you be able to detect the presence of 2 Methoxy-3-iso Butyl Pyrazine, which would indicate Petitgrain. GC/MS does not tell you "pretty much everything you can smell in a perfume." It tells you about 99.0%. When you are trying to match a fragrance, that, on its own, is not good enough.

  8. #8
    Basenotes Member Javiero's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gcms

    Thank you David, Mumsy and Otocione.

    I am well aware that the picture will be incomplete, especially regarding natural components. Science is not magic, of course, and natural components are complex and variable, even between batches of similar origin. 99% sounds pretty close though, at least as a first step. My purpose is not to copy old frags, but to understand them better.

    What supplier did you use, Mumsy? Are there different qualities or prices between suppliers?

  9. #9
    Super Member otocione's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gcms

    Pyrazines are an interesting challenge but they have been "defeated" a while ago. As this communication states (http://www.fantastic-flavour.com/yah....302161444.pdf) they have been already detected several times with GC/MS, it's just a matter of correct sample treatment. But I think this is not the point since I basically agree with you David, and I think that even if one has the chance to receive the complete list of the molecules contained in a perfume this doesn't mean he will be able to replicate it.
    Sebastiano - Organic Chemist

  10. #10
    David Ruskin's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gcms

    One last point. If you know what is there it is easier to detect it by GC/MS. If you suspect the presence of Pyrazines or Sulphur containing compounds a Nitrogen detector or a Sulphur detector may be used. However, in general these are not used (in my experience). I think we are all agreed that GC/MS provides a very good analysis, as far as it goes; but it isn't the be all and end all.

    Javiero, if you are prepared to pay for an analysis you will learn a great deal; but not the full picture (as you, I think, realise).
    Last edited by David Ruskin; 16th March 2013 at 02:23 PM.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Gcms

    I would recommend
    http://www.intertek.com/
    They have reps for many countries and are reasonably affordable. Make sure you explain what you need your analysis for. If you have a description like: I'm looking for bergamot, lavender and rose absolute, that will help. A good GC/MS analyst trained to analyse fragrances will know what isotopes and trace components to look for in order to identify naturals. They can also identify perfume allergens for you or other specific materials. The more information you can give them, the more bang you'll get for your buck

    For duplication services you are better off using a company that specializes in manufacturing and testing fragrance (&flavor) products. Some good ones are
    http://www.bell-europe.com
    http://www.fragrance-oils.com
    http://www.lebermuth.com

    Good luck!
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    Default Re: Gcms

    Hi! I don't know if you are interested in the gc/ms for essential oils and chemical info on the elements that are in them, but I found this searching around today. This site offers this information for free in a searchable database. You have to sign up for an account, but as I said, it is free. It would be great when you want to try to make a note or accord using aroma chemicals, as it breaks it down by parts of chemical present. I hope this is useful to someone. Feel free to repost this in any other threads where it may be useful.

    http://essentialoils.org/ Link to home site. I think they sell oils too, but I am not posting this as any kind of promotion.

    Link to their database: http://essentialoils.org/eoudb/

  13. #13
    Basenotes Member Javiero's Avatar
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    Default Re: Gcms

    Thank you Pumpkincoach and Irina. Your information looks very useful!

    Irina, do you have an idea of how much a basic service from intertek costs? At this point I am interested in identifying aromachemicals in some classical perfumes, as I am aware that naturals are much more difficult and variable. For these, the essential oils database looks promising!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Gcms

    Quote Originally Posted by Javiero View Post
    Irina, do you have an idea of how much a basic service from intertek costs? At this point I am interested in identifying aromachemicals in some classical perfumes, as I am aware that naturals are much more difficult and variable. For these, the essential oils database looks promising!
    I have no idea, as the company I worked for had a bulk contract with them (several analysis each week) and I was told they were the best price for the best service. They were incredibly fast, professional and reliable, that I do know.
    Customized consultancy on olfactory branding, design & research
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    Social platform & network on all things smelly
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    The facts on IFRA restrictions & EU regulations

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