Purity test of essential oils
Several market studies assure that about 80% of the essential oils on the market have been adulterated in some way.
Due to the high degree of fraud and the lack of transparency in this market, it is increasingly necessary to have a declaration of purity and naturalness to ensure the authenticity of the product. Most of these adulterations are carried out with “natural identical” ingredients, i.e. with the same substances already contained in the essential oil. Therefore, quality analysis or a complete chromatographic characterization is not enough to ensure purity. Decades of experience and robust databases of pure products make us your expert partner for purity and naturalness certification.
Carbon-14 isotopic analysis only covers a small percentage of adulterations with ingredients from fossil material, for the rest, Chromessence is pioneering some of the techniques it applies.
It is the main technique, and one of the most important innovation lines of Chromessence. Our goal: to offer accredited certifications based on the treatment of chromatographic data by multivariate analysis, using chemometric methods and technologies such as “machine learning”, that discover complex patterns as biomarkers for each botanical species and chemotype, since the use of isolated biomarkers is often inconclusive. An example is our research on lavender that uses about 200 variables (compounds) and their relationships to classify lots.
Trace marker analysis
In some cases there is sufficient scientific literature to assign a certain substance the adjective “marker”. This means that it is an impurity of a certain synthetic adulterant that does not exist in nature. Due to the low level of these substances in the oil, we use a “SIM” (Selected Ion Monitoring) acquisition method with the MS detector. It consists of scanning certain ions that are typical of the chemical structure of the markers, gaining sensitivity compared to a normal acquisition.
Chiral marker analysis
Some essential oils have chiral compounds in their composition, which have a specific ratio between R and S enantiomers (the equivalent synthesized substances are usually racemic). As in the previous case, only in certain cases where the scientific literature is extensive and robust, this technique can be applied.
By gas chromatography we only “see” the volatile and semi-volatile substances. So what about adulterations with non-volatile substances? When we set a standard sample for a given chemotype, the analysis of the “evaporation residue” is also performed. If this value is lower than the standard, a non-volatile adulteration is suspected and further tests are performed to try to elucidate what type of product has been added (vegetable oil, surfactant…).