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Analysis of odour compounds from scented consumer products using gas chromatography-mass spectrometry and gas chromatography-olfactometry

: Bartsch, J.; Uhde, E.; Salthammer, T.


Analytica Chimica Acta 904 (2016), S.98-106
ISSN: 0003-2670
ISSN: 0378-4304
Fraunhofer WKI ()
consumer products; fragrances; gas chromatography-olfactometry; odour; volatile organic compound

Scented consumer products are being bought in increasing amounts and gaining more popularity. There is, however, relatively little information available about their ingredients, emissions and allergenic potential. Frequently, a mixture of different fragrance substances and not solely an individual substance contributes to the overall desired smell. The aim of this study was to investigate the odorous volatile organic compounds (OVOCs) in consumer products containing fragrances. Over 44 products were selected: various scented candles, printing products with different scent types and other products types particularly meant to be used indoors. Measurements were carried out in a desiccator. Air samples were collected on thermal desorption tubes to determine the released fragrance substances by means of gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). Moreover, gas chromatography-olfactometry (GC-O) was used to obtain sensory data and to ensure no important odorant was overlooked. Using both methods it was possible to distinguish between odour active and inactive compounds and subsequently to identify almost 300 different odorants across all scented products. Besides the advantage of differentiation, as the human nose is a very sensitive detector, GC-O was found to be a useful tool for detecting traces and chosen target compounds. One focus in this study lay on the 26 EU-regulated fragrance allergens to prove their relevance in scented consumer goods. In total, 18 of them were identified, with at least one substance being present in almost every product. Benzyl alcohol, cinnamaldehyde, citronellol, eugenol, linalool and limonene were the prevalently detected allergens. Particularly linalool and limonene were observed in over 50% of the products. In addition, eugenol appeared to be one of the most frequently detected compounds in trace-level concentrations in the candle emissions.