Food product integrity is paramount for consumer health and confidence, so using the right instrumentation for efficient, sensitive testing in food and public safety laboratories is vitally important. In addition, a flexible and reliable workflow for accurate and rapid determination of potential toxins such as arsenic or chromium contamination is desirable. Thermo Scientific’s iCAP inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometers (ICP-MS) are ideal additions to the food safety laboratory, excelling in trace element detection and quantification. In this video, presented in association with the American Society for Mass Spectrometry conference in June 2014, Fergus Keenan, Regional Marketing Director with Thermo Scientific explains why the iCAP Q ICP mass spectrometer (MS) ticks all the boxes.
Health concerns involving food and drink products require immediate and accurate investigation. Keenan points out that in terms of trace element monitoring, it frequently isn’t enough to measure total toxicity to confirm public safety. Commenting on the media-generated toxic arsenic debate a few years ago, he explains that simply measuring total trace element content often does not give the whole picture, and that determining the species involved is more important. For example, with arsenic, levels of the organic forms in apple juice are not considered dangerous to human health whereas the inorganic species AS (III) and AS (V) are toxic. Distinguishing between the two is simple and rapid when using the iCAP Q ICP-MS system coupled to ion chromatography separation, as described in this app note.
The iCAP Q ICP-MS is an ergonomically designed quadrupole instrument that takes up a minimum of bench space while delivering efficient sample analysis. The instrument includes the QCell, a collision cell with advanced flatapole technology that gives a low mass cutoff and minimizes internal interference.
Speciation is a hot topic for many types of analysis and the iCAP Q ICP-MS is designed to operate smoothly when coupled with the Thermo Scientific Dionex ICS5000 ion chromatography system. Also, running all instrument driver systems with Chromeleon software and using an autosampler to load samples means that laboratory personnel can quickly run assays to determine the presence of and quantify toxic species.
The instrument requires low sample and solvent volumes for analysis, thus reducing laboratory consumables and running expenses. These, in addition to the rapid processing times and ease of sample handling, makes the iCAP Q ICP mass spectrometer a cost-effective option for trace elemental analysis. Furthermore, the instrument design enables sensitive detection and quantification of low abundance elements such as arsenic and chromium in beverages or drinking water. This feature enables accurate differentiation of toxic species, if present, in food products.
In short, as Keenan summarises – the iCAP Q ICP-MS is an ideal system for food safety analysis.