Food products are routinely monitored for quality, authenticity, and safety. Analysis of food products may also be necessary due to off flavor or odor complaints. The aroma and flavor profiles of each product are unique and made up from a variety of semi-volatile and volatile compounds including aldehydes, ketones, acids, alcohols, terpenes, esters and other trace level components. The wide range of concentrations, polarities, and functional groups used in the composition of a flavor/aroma profile can make the analysis of the sample difficult. Techniques which are simple, use little or no solvent and encompass a wide range of analytes are desirable.

TF-SPME is an extension of regular SPME. It is more sensitive than regular SPME due to the increased surface area and phase volume, both of which lead to improved analyte recovery. The TF-SPME device is a 20 mm x 4.8 mm carbon mesh sheet impregnated with a sorptive phase. The TF-SPME devices can be used in headspace or immersive mode.

In headspace mode, the TF-SPME device is suspended above a solid or liquid sample inside a sealed sample vial. In immersive mode, it is placed directly in a liquid sample. In both cases, the sample is agitated by stirring. After extraction, the devices are blotted dry and placed in an empty thermal desorption tube. They are then analyzed by thermal desorption GC/MS, a technique that is easy to automate, simple to use and requires no solvent. The work presented here demonstrates the application of Thin Film Solid Phase Microextraction (TF-SPME) to the determination of aroma and flavor components in a variety of high fat food products.