MSnose - Flavometrix
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The Flavour Research Experts



The MS-Nose device is based on Atmospheric Pressure Ionisation Mass Spectrometry (API-MS) and the interface was developed at Nottingham to monitor the release of odour components in real time. It can measure odours at concentrations typically around 10 parts per billion in the gas phase (equivalent to 1 nanolitre of vapour in 1 litre of air) at a frequency of 5 to 10Hz. These levels of sensitivity and speed allow us to monitor the aroma profile close to the olfactory receptors as food is eaten. The technique has been applied to many studies of the release of odour components from food both in model release systems and in vivo.

An analogous technique for measuring the release of tastants has also been developed. This is an off-line technique that uses liquid Atmospheric Pressure Ionisation or Electrospray Ionisation.

Aroma release in-vivo measures the stimulus signal close to the olfactory receptors and thus correlates better with the perceived odour compared to headspace or odour composition of the food.  Real time monitoring helps us understand the delivery of aroma and taste to the receptors during eating and therefore provides information to improve or change the process of flavour perception.

Monitoring taste and aroma in-vivo has shown how these modalities interact in specific products and has helped shape new flavour delivery systems (The Figure below shows chewing gum). 

Since direct mass spectrometry is practically instantaneous, it allows the routine measurement of several hundred headspace samples per day. This opens new research opportunities. For instance in some complex multivariate systems many measurements are required to obtain a meaningful data set; this can now be accomplished with direct mass spectrometry. In foods where flavour changes can be rapid (e.g. climacteric ripening fruit like the tomato) the ability to measure many samples rapidly is essential to obtain high quality data.