ISO 8432:1987— Liquid Chromatography For Essential Oils

Selection of essential oils in the perfume and pharmaceuticals industry that adhere to liquid chromatography specifications in ISO 8432:1987.

Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts that retain the natural smell and flavor of their source. Since most of their components are volatile (i.e., a substance capable of readily changing from a solid or liquid dot a vapor), liquid chromatography is generally used to determine the individual ingredients in essential oils. ISO 8432:1987—Essential Oils — Analysis By High Performance Liquid Chromatography — General Method discusses the procedure, specifying the determination, general conditions, and testing methods of using liquid chromatography for essential oils.

What Is Liquid Chromatography?

Chromatography is used to separate components (proteins, nucleic acids, or small molecules) in a sample (complex mixtures). Liquid chromatography is a technique used to separate molecules into its individual parts in a liquid mobile phase using a solid stationary phase. The different components in the mixture pass through the column or plane at different rates because of the variations in the partitioning behavior between the mobile liquid and stationary phases. The separation occurs based on the interactions of the sample with these two phases. Liquid chromatography can be used for analytical or preparative applications and is particularly useful for the separation of ions or molecules that are dissolved in a solvent.

What Industries Use Liquid Chromatography?

1. Forensics

High-performance liquid chromatography machines (HPLC) push substances through using a high-pressure pump, helping forensic scientists analyze volatile substances such as gunpowder residue, fibers, and toxins. One of the most common use of the HPLC machine is to determine materials used in explosives.

2. Pharmaceuticals

High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) is used to analyze drug products to separate their various ingredients, which can then be quantified. This step ensures drug products are manufactured both safely and consistently. HPLC can also be used to test for traces of drugs within a patient. By analyzing plasma, serum or urine, medical professionals can determine what quantity of specific ingredients have made it into a patient’s body, giving them a better idea of the dosage required for treatment. The same is true for sporting bodies, who want to determine whether drugs have been used during competitions. This has happened on several occasions to enhance performance, which is why various substances are banned in so many sports.

3. Food Analysis

Food products need to have the right ingredients in the right quantities and avoid the wrong ingredients. Liquid chromatography for food analysis can test for undesirable components in food products, such as veterinary drugs, mycotoxins, and pesticides that are dangerous to human health. It can also be used to separate specific compounds to determine what creates a certain flavor or aroma profile within a product.

The ISO 8432:1987 Standard for Essential Oils

ISO 8432:1987 specifies guidelines for liquid chromatography: a method of separation based on the phenomena of adsorption, partition, ion exchange and/or exclusion. The purpose of this method is to determine the content of a specific compound and/or searching for a characteristic profile. Specifically, liquid chromatography enables the perfume industry to analyze a small quantity of aromatic essential oil or other raw materials on a chromatographic column with an appropriate packing and under appropriate conditions.  

Popular Essential Oils

Essential oils are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps, air fresheners, and other products. They are used for flavoring food and drink, for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products, and for aromatherapy (a form of alternative medicine in which healing effects are ascribed to aromatic compounds). Here is a list of essential oils and their associated benefits:

  1. Peppermint: has health benefits for athletic performance, can improve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms, and also a choice for some looking to ease headaches.
  2. Lavender: provides a soothing and relaxing scent and is often used in aromatherapy to relieve stress.
  3. Tea tree oil: is believed to have antibacterial and antifungal properties, and it is used in to treat wound care, to eliminate head lice, and to control dandruff.
  4. Bergamot: may help reduce stress and contains compounds that may also help to alleviate pain and inflammation. It comes from the rinds of Citrus bergamia fruits, a hybrid combination of oranges and lemons.
  5. Chamomile: has coaxed many people into slumber over the centuries and has multiple benefits for health, including anxiety reduction.
  6. Jasmine: is thought to be an aphrodisiac and its scent is used to lace popular desserts and fragrances.
  7. Ylang ylang: has a light, floral scent and is used in aromatherapy to reduce tension and stress. It may also be beneficial for insomnia.
  8. Eucalyptus: can help eliminate mildew odors and is beneficial for calming coughs and relieving nasal congestion.

ISO 8432:1987—Essential Oils — Analysis By High Performance Liquid Chromatography — General Method is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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