Analytical test methods for vitamin testing in foods have been in existence for decades, including microbiological and high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) methods. While these methods are still considered the "gold standards" for vitamin testing, a new method, liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS), is emerging. LC-MS/MS can offer several advantages over the older methods, including greater sensitivity, precision, simplified sample prep, quantitative dynamic range, and most importantly multiplexing.
This new method is an important solution for our food manufacturer sponsors, as it provides you with faster and more reliable data, as well as potential cost savings if you need a full B-vitamin profile.
Vitamin B is a group of water-soluble vitamins that play important roles in cell metabolism. Since vitamin B is not stored very well in the body, daily intake through diet or nutritional supplements is necessary. The absence of individual B vitamins in a diet can lead to several conditions including depression and high blood pressure, so they are often fortified in foods, especially infant formula.
The analysis of vitamin B is challenging, as it's made up of a complex mixture of highly polar compounds whose PKs range from 0.5 to 10.2. While several methods, including microbiologically based methods, exist to look at these analytes individually, LC-MS/MS is one of the few analytical methods in existence that can examine the B vitamins at the same time and at the sensitivity needed in food products. In addition, LC-MS/MS offers high-throughput capabilities, minimal sample preparation, and a greater level of specificity, accuracy, and analysis efficiency.
Just because older vitamin testing methods have been around for a long time doesn't mean they're inferior or obsolete. In fact, they still may be the best ones to use in some cases, depending on the specific vitamins and food matrices being tested. Like LC-MS/MS, HPLC and microbiological methods also have their advantages and disadvantages.
Nonetheless, the demand for LC-MS/MS will continue to increase and begin to create its own niche as a method for vitamin testing. And once the industry has a greater understanding of this new method, LC-MS/MS will most likely become the new "gold standard" for vitamin testing.
For more information on our vitamin testing capabilities and our use of LC-MS/MS for vitamin B testing, please visit our website.