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Development of in-line gas chromatography for ultra-trace level analysis of off-flavor compounds in water and aquaculture

Geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol are off-flavor compounds causing earthy smell and taste even at ultra-low concentrations (parts per trillion). The presence of these components in water or products produced in aquaculture taints the product quality. The problem currently is that there exists no convenient analytic instrument for measuring at such low concentration. Samples need to be analyzed externally by mass spectroscopy in specialized laboratories. We discovered adsorbents which are extremely selective for the two compounds of interest, and these adsorbents can be used to concentrate the compounds such that the analysis can be performed with gas chromatography. Such instrument can be mounted in-line in production environment, and be automated like other sensors. With the candidate adsorbents the targeted concentration can be reached. The development of sampling modules and the coupling with a gaschromatograph will be realized with financial support of IOF. The situation is very unique in the sense that little adsorbent is needed, only ca. 100 milligram per sampling module. In our lab we synthesize typically at gram scale, such that we can easily provide adsorbent for hundreds of instruments. We aim at a valorization track in collaboration with a company commercializing gas chromatography instruments and accessories. We will provide the adsorbent integrated in sampling modules and offer tools, instruments and protocols for the analysis of geosmin and 2-methylisoborneol commercially. The market is huge, covering aquaculture, waste water purification, drinking water and fresh water production, extreme purification of process water, etc.An additional opportunity is the connection of the applicant with AQUA4C, a KU Leuven spin off company producing Omegabaars in Aquaculture at Kruisem. Testing and validation of the sampling system and the analysis will be done at that production site, such that a first reference will be available facilitating the penetration of the market.
Date:1 Jan 2021 →  31 Dec 2022
Keywords:off flavor compounds, ultra trace level analysis, aquaculture
Disciplines:Analytical separation and detection techniques