LC-MS/MS Emerges As New Method of Analysis for Vitamin B Testing

BVitaminsAnalytical 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.

Advantages of LC-MS/MS for Vitamin B Testing

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.

Older Methods Not Obsolete, Yet Demand for LC-MS/MS Will Continue to Increase

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.

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About Doug Winters

Mr. Doug Winters joined Covance in 2006 and is currently the Executive Director of Science and Technology, responsible for the scientific direction and quality systems for the Nutritional Chemistry and Food Safety Division of Covance Laboratories. His group of 70 scientists and technical staff are responsible for the ISO 17025 quality systems, training, and GLP Study Direction and Coordination. His team includes 19 staff dedicated to method development initiatives, method validation, and client technical projects. Additionally he has a team of staff responsible for global method transfer and technical harmonization between the Covance sites. In his position, the key scientists in the Nutritional Chemistry group report directly to Mr. Winters. Prior responsibilities at Covance included overseeing the combined analytical testing operations of the Madison, WI, Battle Creek, MI, and Greenfield, IN locations. Mr. Winters received his Masters in Analytical Chemistry from the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago, IL in 2002 and his Bachelors in Chemistry from Elmhurst College. Over his 35 year career in analytical chemistry he has managed both chemistry and microbiological testing laboratories in the fields of Food Analysis, Specialty Chemicals, Polymers and Sealants, and Environmental Chemistry. He was instrumental in building and directing the initial stages of method development utilizing liquid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry in the food industry for Covance.