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[FOOD

SAFETY

&

QUALITY]

by Neil H. Mermelstein
by
Neil
H.
Mermelstein
[FOOD SAFETY & QUALITY] by Neil H. Mermelstein New Developments in Instrumentation M ost, if not
[FOOD SAFETY & QUALITY] by Neil H. Mermelstein New Developments in Instrumentation M ost, if not

New Developments in Instrumentation

  • M ost, if not all, companies constantly strive to improve their existing products and

develop new ones. This certainly applies to companies in the food

[FOOD SAFETY & QUALITY] by Neil H. Mermelstein New Developments in Instrumentation M ost, if not

Researchers at Waters Corp. prepare to insert a vial containing a sample extract into an Acquity UPLC H-Class /Xevo G2 QTof time-of-flight mass spectrometry system prior to running a pesticide screening method.

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industry, but it also applies to manufacturers of instruments for the analysis of foods and bever- ages. Here is a sampling of some of the instruments introduced within the past year or so by three major analytical instrument companies.

Waters Corp.

Based in Milford, Mass., Waters Corp. (www.waters.com) is said to deliver practical and sus - tainable innovation to enable significant advancements in such areas as healthcare deliv - ery, environmental management, food safety, and water quality

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worldwide. Antonietta Gledhill, Business Development Manager, Food and Environment Business Operations, said that the com - pany has a broad range of system solutions aimed at the food and beverage industry. Among the more recent introductions are the Acquity UPLC ® H-Class ultra-per- formance liquid chromatograph (UPLC) and the Xevo ® G2 QTof time-of-flight mass spectrom - eter (TOF-MS). Both systems were introduced to the market- place in late 2010 and have been used by food laboratories all over the world in both quality control and food research applications. The Acquity UPLC H-Class was developed specifically with qual - ity control departments in mind, she said. It offers high chromato - graphic resolution, which is an essential requirement when deal - ing with complex food matrices. It enables chemists to run exist- ing lab methods, delivering the best-achievable high-perfor- mance liquid chromatography (HPLC) separations and provid - ing the capability to run more efficient and streamlined UPLC methods within the laboratory. For day-to-day operations, she added, it reduces sample analy - sis time and cost related to solvent use and fits the long-term busi - ness strategies of customers who are implementing sustainability policies to ensure that their labo - ratories run green operations. The instrument maximizes chromatographic resolution, permitting the consolidation of multiple analytes into single

analytical methods; this wasn’t previously possible due to lack of resolution power, she said. Reducing stationary-phase par- ticle size has long been exploited to improve chromatographic separation efficiency, but until recently liquid chromatogra- phy had reached a plateau in which the benefits of reducing particle size could not be fully realized because of instrument band spreading and limited pres - sure range. The Acquity system overcomes these barriers by using chromatographic columns packed with smaller particles, below 2 microns in size, and pre - cisely delivering the mobile phase at higher pressures, up to 15,000 psi. The instrument is considered a replacement for existing HPLC systems for food QC analyses. One of its key benefits is speed— the time to perform an analytical method using HPLC can be dra- matically reduced by 80%–90%. The Xevo G2 QTof is capable of obtaining the highest level of chemical information from food samples for both food safety and compositional profiling, Gledhill said. It can maintain excellent mass accuracy of compounds found at very low concentra- tions in the presence of very high concentrations of ubiquitous compounds. This is especially important when making trace analyses in extremely com - plex food matrices, she said. The technology is rela- tively new to the industry but was brought to the attention of food testing laboratories after

high-profile food safety scares because of its ability to perform non-targeted analysis. The instru - ment
high-profile food safety scares because of its ability to perform non-targeted analysis. The instru - ment

high-profile food safety scares because of its ability to perform non-targeted analysis. The instru - ment provides a way to screen food products for any unwanted chemi- cal contaminants. The company has also been working with the fruit juice industry to use the Acquity UPLC H-Class and the Xevo G2 QTof with MarkerLynx software to deter- mine fruit juice adulteration. The challenges that the industry faces today, with trying to predict the next food safety scare and ensure consumer safety, she said, are likely to be present for many years to come, but more tools are now avail- able to address the issues when they arise. Sample preparation used to be a huge bottleneck, she said, but as instruments become more sensi- tive and as chemists seek to learn more about their products, the trend is to move away from sample prep whenever possible although there will still be methods for which it is an essential part of the analysis. The issue of melamine highlighted to the food industry how a food qual- ity issue can rapidly become a very major food safety issue, Gledhill said. This arose because the commonly used test for protein, the Kjeldahl method, measures nitrogen and not protein and can therefore be cheated by exogenous non-protein nitrogen. This has raised questions about the true efficacy of many of the aged ref- erence methods in use in routine food QC testing today and is creating an interest in adoption of newer, more effective methods such as UPLC and even mass spectrometric methods for food QA/QC analysis. The challenge for instrument manufacturers, she said, is to develop instruments that not only have a small footprint—nec- essary in the QC environment, where

real estate is precious—but also are robust enough and easy enough to be used by less-experienced opera- tors in a busy routine environment. The company, she said, continues to invest significant resources in development of analytical solutions specifically aimed at these markets.

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc.

Headquartered in Waltham, Mass., Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (www. thermofisher.com) calls itself the world leader in serving science, offering products and services that help accelerate the pace of scientific discovery and solve ana- lytical challenges ranging from complex research to routine test- ing and field applications. Markus Kellmann, Product Manager FT-MS New Technologies, Life Science Mass Spectrometry, said that the company’s newest instrument for analysis of foods and beverages is the Q Exactive high-resolution accurate-mass (HRAM) spectrom - eter, introduced in June 2011. The heart of the benchtop system, he said, is the Orbitrap TM mass ana- lyzer, which records the ion motion frequency along the center elec- trode, resulting in a transient signal. By applying fast Fourier transforma- tion on the transient signal, a mass spectrum is generated. The result- ing mass spectra are characterized by unmatched resolving power (more than 140,000 FWHM, full width half maximum) and very high mass accuracy (less than 1 ppm). A high- performance quadrupole serves as a mass filter, which allows preselec- tion of ions and reduction of chemical noise, thus allowing quantitation at a level similar to high-end triple- quadrupole instruments, Kellmann said. This, together with the ability

high-profile food safety scares because of its ability to perform non-targeted analysis. The instru - ment

The Q Exactive mass spectrometer (above) from Thermo Fisher Scientific provides high-confidence confirmation of known compounds and identification of unknowns.

The ToxInsight fluorescence imaging instrument (below) and associated assays from Thermo Fisher Scientific provide a non-targeted screening platform for identifying the presence or absence of endocrine disrupters in the environment, food packaging, food ingredients, and other products.

high-profile food safety scares because of its ability to perform non-targeted analysis. The instru - ment

to produce HRAM MS/MS fragment ion spectra, enables extremely high levels of confirmation, minimizing false negative results. The instru - ment works with all atmospheric ionization techniques, he said. Screening and quantitation in the food safety area have traditionally been performed by triple-quadrupole mass spectrometers because of their high sensitivity, high speed of analy - sis, and specificity, Kellmann said, but the focus has always been on targeted analytes. Within this meth - odology, a limited set of analytes have to be defined before analy - ses are conducted, all compounds

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[FOOD

SAFETY

&

QUALITY]

[FOOD SAFETY & QUALITY] New Developments in Instrumentation continued ... The Spectrum Two infrared spectrometer (above)

New Developments in Instrumentation continued ...

[FOOD SAFETY & QUALITY] New Developments in Instrumentation continued ... The Spectrum Two infrared spectrometer (above)

The Spectrum Two infrared

spectrometer (above) from PerkinElmer is designed for

everyday quality and safety

analysis in the laboratory or the field.

The AxION 2 time-of-flight mass spectrometer (right) from PerkinElmer is

designed to deliver rapid and accurate mass

identification and

quantification of targeted

and non-targeted

compounds.

[FOOD SAFETY & QUALITY] New Developments in Instrumentation continued ... The Spectrum Two infrared spectrometer (above)

have to be optimized separately, and the confidence of confirmation by low-resolution fragment ions is still the cause of divergent discus - sions. In contrast to this targeted approach, there is more interest lately in non-targeted approaches. Using intact compound molec- ular ions for quantification and complete fragment spectra for high- confidence confirmation of known compounds or even identification of unknowns, HRAM analysis over a wide mass range by means of the Q Exactive will overcome these

[FOOD SAFETY & QUALITY] New Developments in Instrumentation continued ... The Spectrum Two infrared spectrometer (above)
[FOOD SAFETY & QUALITY] New Developments in Instrumentation continued ... The Spectrum Two infrared spectrometer (above)

limitations, Kellmann said. Because of the constantly growing number of regulated substances, a clear trend toward multi-residue methods in combination with comprehen - sive sample preparation approaches like QuEChERS is emerging. The Q Exactive is capable of resolving vir- tually all matrix interferences from the compounds of interest, providing low-noise-extracted mass chromato - grams even for the most complex crude extracts. In addition, it allows the identification and quantitation of complete unknowns using HRAM. After data acquisition in positive and/ or negative ionization modes by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LCMS), the files can be interrogated retrospectively multiple times for vir- tually any compound. One challenge in the develop - ment of new instruments for food and beverage analysis, Kellmann said, is to provide easy-to-use instruments for routine multi-residue, multi- class analysis for both targeted and unknown screening and quantita- tion at the current performance level for every food testing laboratory and therefore also for every budget. The company is constantly work- ing on improvements in scan speed, ultra-high-performance liquid chro - matography (UHPLC) resolution and sensitivity to support the increasing requirements in food safety analysis. Another challenge, he said, is analyzing the expansive amount of information collected in each HRAM data file. The company is working on software solutions to automate much of this work and provide quick answers for the analyst. The forth - coming ExactFinder ™ software for the instrument will combine new and well-known software tools into one suite and substantially improve data processing for screen - ing, quantification, and unknown analysis. The company, he added, will continue with these endeav - ors for future-generation products and solutions that will allow the food supply chain to be safer. Another recent development

from the company is its recently introduced ToxInsight IVT (in vitro toxicology) platform. Martin L. Pietila, Global Manager of New Markets, Life Science Research-Cellomics, said that environmental toxins called endocrine active chemicals (EACs) act like the natural sex hormones estrogen and androgen and interfere with the reproductive system of both humans and animals. To date, screen - ing for EACs has required mass spectrometry to identify toxins with known spectrometric signatures. The ToxInsight IVT hardware and software and associated Endocrine Profiler Panel assays enable highly sensitive detection of EACs from complex mixtures and provide an in vitro non-targeted screening plat- form for identifying the presence or absence of EACs in the environment, food packaging, food ingredients, pharmaceuticals, plastics and res - ins, and consumer chemicals. The basis for the detection is an engineered human cell line express - ing the estrogen or androgen receptor fused to a green fluores - cent protein. Upon activation by a suspected EAC, the receptor trans - locates to the nucleus of the cell, and the fluorescence imaging sys - tem directly visualizes the activated receptor and reports the magni- tude and potency of the response using sophisticated image analy - sis algorithms, compared to known endocrine disrupters such as BPA and dihydrotestosterone. The platform provides significant sav - ings in time and cost over older test methods that rely on ani- mal extracts and a wide range of chemicals, instrumentation, and software tools, Pietila said.

PerkinElmer Inc.

Based in Waltham, Mass., PerkinElmer Inc. (www.perkinelmer. com) bills itself as a global leader focused on improving the health and safety of people and the environ - ment. Ravindra Ramadhar, Director of Food & Consumer Goods Safety, said that the company introduced

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a number of new instruments in 2011 that incorporate indus - try-leading detection levels, ease of
a number of new instruments in 2011 that incorporate indus - try-leading detection levels, ease of

a number of new instruments in 2011 that incorporate indus - try-leading detection levels, ease of use, lower maintenance requirements, and user-friendly software. The Spectrum Two ® infrared spectrometer and the AxION 2 TOF-MS plat- form are instruments that he said will revolutionize the use of analytical instrumenta- tion and help guarantee the safety and quality of foods. Spectrum Two , introduced in February 2011, is designed for everyday quality and safety analysis, such as detection of contamination, economi- cally motivated adulteration, or counterfeiting applications. It provides fast, accurate infrared analysis in a compact, trans - portable design, suitable for use in the laboratory or the field. While the underlying instrumen - tation technology is complex, the instrument automates the interpretation of IR spectro - scopic results and is easy to use. A user-friendly touch-screen interface allows results to be obtained faster than ever before. The instrument uses a fixed- mirror-pair interferometer design that does not require dynamic alignment to compensate for errors found in linear-mirror- movement systems, Ramadhar said. It is portable and includes a wireless interface, minimiz- ing the possibility the system will be damaged in a harsh envi- ronment and making it ideal for use from the loading dock to the lab. Since raw material testing is typically done in an area with little climate control, he said, the effects of temperature and humidity must be considered to allow consistent results. With this in mind, the instrument was designed with a humidity shield to protect it from environmental effects, allowing it to be used in more challenging environments. The AxION 2 platform,

introduced in June 2011, features five orders of linear dynamic range for quantification, high specificity so no extensive chromatographic separation is required, high scanning speed, exact mass capabilities for con - fident confirmation of compound identity, and isotope-ratio con - firmation for further confidence in routine quantitative pesticide analysis, targeted screening of pesticides and other chemicals, and detection and identification of unexpected compounds. The platform includes hardware and software specifically designed to deliver rapid and accurate mass identification and quantification. The hardware consists of the AxION 2 TOF-MS instrument and a choice of ion sources that are said to deliver the most efficient nebulization, fastest desolvation, and most effective ionization of any TOF system, Ramadhar said. The Ultraspray 2 adjust- able dual-probe electrospray ionization source allows users to optimize the angle of probes to achieve the best sensitivity. The design also lets users dedi- cate one inlet to a sample and the other to an internal standard. By doing so, one can avoid con - tamination in the sample probe and achieve the highest mass accuracy—without affecting sensitivity or resolution—by per- forming real-time calibrations. The other available ion source is a field-free atmospheric pressure chemical ionization source that maximizes ionization efficiency and sensitivity at very low flow rates, he said, allowing users to achieve optimum results while using less sample and solvent. Each source has interchange - able snap-in probes to enhance productivity and user flexibility by reducing cross-contamina- tion. The platform also includes a variety of software packages for analysis and reporting of results. Food and beverage

customers present a unique chal - lenge to instrument developers, Ramadhar said. On one hand, they need powerful and complex instrumentation and techniques for the required actionable results. But on the other hand, they require instruments that are easy to use and generate clear results. Instrument development must address both these needs, he said. Globalization, chang- ing technical levels, and training of staff are driving instrument robustness and greater automa- tion of results. To better serve the needs of the food industry, he added, companies must ensure that instruments are designed for the rigors of a food produc- tion environment and manage the complex matrices associ- ated with food. Instruments must be designed to operate

in harsh and non-laboratory environments and require less maintenance and calibration. PerkinElmer is always looking into the future to add software functionality and analytical capability that cus - tomers demand, Ramadhar said. Ease of use, field deployability, and ability to move the instru - ment to various locations are always on the development screen. Increased productiv - ity, more-efficient reporting, and integration with other informat- ics needs in the laboratory are high priorities that the company will continue to develop over the next few years, he said. FT

   
Neil H. Mermelstein , a Fellow of IFT, is Editor Emeritus of Food Technology • nhmermelstein@comcast.net
Neil H. Mermelstein , a Fellow of IFT, is Editor Emeritus of

Neil H. Mermelstein, a Fellow of IFT, is Editor Emeritus of

Food Technology

• nhmermelstein@comcast.net

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