Gas chromatography and associated techniques in the analysis of laundry malodour
This paper reviews the use of chromatography in the identification of malodour in laundry. Two approaches are described: the first involves the use of the traditional approach of gas chromatography mass spectrometry while the second approach uses a new approach based on multi-capillary column gas chromatography ion mobility spectrometry (MCC-GC-IMS). Examples of GC-MS data representative of the volatile compounds associated with the inside of a washing machine are shown. MCC-GC-IMS has the advantages of extreme sensitivity for volatile compounds as well as the ability to detect nitrogen and sulphur containing molecules. Finally, selected examples of the application of chromatography for the analysis of malodour are presented.
The science of laundry is complex and at Northumbria University we have been applying new technologies to attempt to understand the extent of the generation of malodour during human activity and also to follow the removal of the associated compounds in washing processes. This also necessitated a study of the generation of malodours in washing machines which are also a by-product of human activity. Our sense of smell is generally well developed although there is a tendency for it to degenerate in later life. It is fortunate that this is the case since the range of smells which we encounter not only may give us pleasure but in addition sometimes provide warnings of possible dangers or unpleasant environments. So what are smells and odours?
Although single organic compounds frequently have characteristic odours by which we are often able to identify them, the aromas and odours associated with plants, animals and everyday life generally are not single compounds but are a mix of different sizes of molecules and of different classes of organic compounds with varying compositions. One thing that they all have in common is the fact that the ...