Application Note

Fast Identification of Artificial Vanilla Flavor in Vanilla Extract by ASAP® Compact Mass Spectrometry

Vanilla extract is a baking staple for cookies, cupcakes and more – but not all vanilla extract is created equal. Pure vanilla extract is made from the vanilla bean pod of the Vanilla planifolia plant. Imitation vanilla is derived from ethyl vanillin, which can be synthesized without the use of any vanilla beans at all. While pure vanilla extract may seem like the obvious choice, it does come at a price, making the imitation product a viable option in supermarkets across the world. But it begs the question: what is the chemical difference, and are products marketed as “pure” truly authentic?

In this screening assay, the expression CMS coupled with the Atmospheric Solids Analysis Probe (ASAP®) is used to quickly identify the presence of artificial vanilla, as well as confirm the purity of products marketed as such. This technique provides a fast and easy method for purity analysis.