How Chromatography Is Used in Food Testing

How Chromatography Is Used in Food Testing

Gas chromatography is used to analyze the quality of food and spoilage and to identify whether the food contains any additives. Chances are, chromatography tested all the foods we consume today, as it’s used by most organizations for analysis. Here we introduce how chromatography is used in food testing and how it works.

What Is Chromatography and How Does It Work?

Chromatography is a process of separating mixtures of different pigments into their respected components. The most common analogy for this is if you scribble your pen’s ink onto a piece of paper and then get the paper wet, you’ll begin to see the ink separating. That’s kind of how chromatography works, only the machine involves gas and physically moving the compounds.

How It’s Used to Analyze the Quality of Food and Detect Additives

When the item being tested is injected into a gas chromatography machine, the mixture encounters a vapor, which separates the compounds from the mixture. Once the mixture separates, it allows the machine’s operator to identify the amount and quality of vitamins in the item. Then the operator can decide on the level of quality and if the food item should go to market or requires reevaluation from the manufacturer.

In addition, one of the most common reasons chromatography is used in food testing is to identify any additives in the food. For example, many manufacturers include additives in their food to improve the taste, and while it sounds harmful, that’s not always the case. Some additives are fine, but an abundance of them can lead to other issues. Chromatography can identify any unsafe additives.

Although chromatography is useful for many applications, it serves a special purpose in food testing. By separating compounds from the mixtures in food items, the laboratory technician can identify the quality of food, its vitamins, the inclusion of any additives, spoilage, and more.

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