Food Testing Labs: What Technology Is Right for You?

Mar 29, 2019 | Blogs, Food / Beverage | 0 comments

Consumer safety is the driving force behind food analysis. From field (or ocean) to fork, there are numerous opportunities for food to become potentially hazardous to human health. As fast as new contaminants enter the food chain, changes in regulation and legislation come into force. It quite literally is a movable feast, and detection methods must keep up.

Is this food fit for human consumption?

There’s no denying that food analysis is challenging. This is because foods contain a diverse mix of molecules, and contaminants not only vary in structure but are typically present at trace concentrations. If you bring the changing regulatory landscape into the mix, then you’re picking your way through a minefield.

From pesticide, mycotoxin, and veterinary drug residues through to determining the authenticity of food products; there’s no margin for error. It’s down to the scientists out there to ensure that food made available to the public is safe and nutritious.

Is your equipment up for the challenge?

Food testing labs need robust tools for reliable detection and accurate quantitative analysis of everything in a food sample. They need instruments capable of ultra-sensitive identification that can screen against a library of potential contaminants within a single sample. Well, that’s what we’re here for! The experts at SCIEX have developed some of the most advanced mass spectrometers available on the market, which are being used in a variety of contexts throughout the entire food supply chain.

What technology is right for your lab?

The food testing community is continuing to embrace the shift towards liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). The technique is now widely accepted as the best characterization method for food analysis, and SCIEX technology has earned a reputation as simple to learn and use. Here we give you an overview of some of our latest technologies so you can understand which is right for you.

We offer two approaches:

  1. Triple Quadrupole (QQQ) uses quadrupole mass filters to isolate ions in a sample and their product ion fragments; this approach delivers low-resolution mass/charge with good sensitivity, selectivity, and linearity.
  2. Quadrupole Time of Flight (QTOF) pairs the quadrupole (and collision cell) with a time-of-flight analyzer, allowing high-resolution, high mass accuracy analysis of all ions simultaneously.

For further information on these technologies and to discover the accomplishments of each, download the SCIEX Food Compendium by filling out the form on the right.

Triple Quadruple Mass Spectrometry (QQQ)

The most widely adopted mass spectrometers for targeted and selective contaminant detection is the QQQ detector. In this class, SCIEX offers both Triple Quad™ and QTRAP® Systems for food testing labs.

  • Triple Quad 3500 SystemIf you are a high-throughput food testing lab that needs to analyze hundreds of analytes in a single injection, this is for you. Powered by the legendary Turbo V™ ion source, this instrument delivers consistent and reliable results across multiple samples. Even dirty samples can’t defeat the Curtain Gas™ interface which protects the machine from contamination and reduces routine maintenance
  • QTRAP 4500 SeriesIf you are a food scientist in need of vigorous and reliable high-throughput screening for diverse trace analytes, look no further. Designed for robustness, speed, and quantitative sensitivity, the QTRAP 4500 LC-MS/MS certainly packs a punch! With the Turbo V ion source, powerful Scheduled MRMHR algorithm and Curved LINAC® collision cell design, scientists can boost lab capacity and get better data, every time
  • QTRAP 6500+ SystemIf you are pushing the boundaries in the most challenging applications involving complex food groups, we’ve got your back. The QTRAP 6500+ is the fastest most sensitive QTRAP system on the market. With enhanced selectivity, it cuts through background interferences to make quantitative analyses easier. IonDrive™ technology delivers performance in situations where exceptional selectivity is a necessity

Whether you’re investigating difficult polar pesticides, mycotoxins, food allergens or cannabinoids, or authenticating food products, QQQ is proven to deliver the robust performance you need.

Quadrupole Time of Flight (QTOF)

With changing, consumer trends come the desire to extend testing capabilities with next-generation technologies. In response, SCIEX has engineered the revolutionary X500R QTOF high-resolution mass spectrometry. This benchtop sized solution offers scientists that extra mile of specificity to capture every relevant piece of information from a food sample, such as contaminants, residues, allergens, nutrients and more.

As the first high-resolution LC-MS/MS system designed for reliable high-throughput testing, the X500R QTOF combines enhanced mass accuracy for routine quantitation of target compounds, with extraordinary detection capabilities for samples with unknown molecules:

  • Sensitive and high-speed MS/MS data acquisition not only enhances data quality but delivers comprehensive detection of unknowns.
  • The renowned accuracy of the X500R owes its thanks to the impressive ionization performance of the Turbo V ion source
  • Achieve trace level quantitation with MRMHR and unrivaled general unknown screening with SWATH® Acquisition
  • The independent calibration path maintains high reliability through long runs, for routine high-throughput identification and quantitation
  • SCIEX OS Software on the X500R QTOF system is highly intuitive, accelerating data collection and simplifying data processing for technicians of any skill level

If you are a food testing lab looking for a high-performance solution that handles the most complex matrices without compromise, the X500R QTOF system was designed for you.

Discover how mass spec technologies from SCIEX can transform your food analysis. The SCIEX Food Compendium is packed with technical notes that demonstrate the analytical power of mass spec for food testing labs, download your copy today!

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