Various techniques have been employed in the analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). However, these techniques are insufficient for the precise analysis of tobacco smoke VOCs because of the complexity of the operating system, system instability, or poor sensitivity. To overcome these problems, a combined system of VOC preconcentrator, gas chromatograph, and olfactometer has been developed. The performance of this new system was evaluated in the analysis of VOCs in tobacco smoke and applied to the odor profiling of sidestream smoke (SSS) that has not been sufficiently investigated in the past.
A VOC sample in a gas-sampling bag was injected into a gas chromatograph through a preconcentrator, where it was concentrated, dehydrated, and cryo-focused. Separated VOCs were introduced into a mass spectrometer (for qualitative and quantitative analysis) and a sniffing port (for odor profiling) by a splitting device. In addition to the conventional Gas Chromatography-Olfactometry (GC-O) technique that was used for describing the odor quality of each compound, the odor intensity was estimated based on the dilution ratio of the sample, Aroma Direct Dilution Analysis (ADDA). Also, the contribution of each VOC to the overall SSS odor was estimated by sensory evaluation.
This system permitted adequate characterization of the VOCs. The reproducibility of quantification was also good enough with Coefficient of Variation (CV) values less than about 5% (n = 5). With the GC-O technique, we obtained an SSS odor profile composed of over 30 odorants. ADDA indicated that seven odorants were sufficient to characterize SSS odor. In addition, the omit-test revealed that three odor attributes, (‘metallic’, ‘potato-like’, and ‘popcorn-like’) were most important for the characterization of SSS odor.
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