“Reactive organosulfur compounds that are responsible for garlic odor on breath are easily quantified using SIFT-MS”

Application Scientist Helena Barnes

Helena Barnes


Semiconductor Technical Specialist

Treatment claims for deodorization of garlic odor on breath have usually been substantiated – at best – using off-line analysis of in vitro model systems. But the human body is a much more complicated system than model systems on the lab bench, with several short-lived, malodorous reduced sulfur compounds actually formed in the body. Direct analysis of human breath is essential – and Selected Ion Flow Tube Mass Spectrometry (SIFT-MS) is the ideal analytical technique.

Professor Barringer’s research group in the Food Science and Technology Department at The Ohio State University (OSU) have recently published a new article employing direct mass spectrometry (SIFT-MS) to investigate odor treatments. Previous work from the group has probed the system in vivo using SIFT-MS, and found raw mint to be one of the most effective foods for garlic breath deodorization. It was further proposed that rosmarinic acid was responsible for the excellent deodorization capability of mint leaves.

In this paper, the researchers took the study further by investigating the effectiveness of three types of mint and pure rosmarinic acid for headspace garlic odour neutralization. The rapid, direct analysis provided by SIFT-MS enabled simple quantitation of the reactive sulfur species. Unexpectedly, both the chocolate leaves with the highest rosmarinic acid content, and pure rosmarinic acid, were found to be the least effective at garlic deodorization.

The full paper titled ‘Deodorization of Garlic Odor by Spearmint, Peppermint, and Chocolate Mint Leaves and Rosmarinic Acid’ can be accessed through the publisher’s website.

Professor Barringer will also be presenting some of her garlic research in a webinar with ACS C&EN on October 11th; you can register for the live event here and keep an eye on our webinars page  where it will be available for on-demand viewing within one week of the live event.

For more information on SIFT-MS and its food applications, browse our website or contact us at info@syft.com.