An atmospheric-pressure chemical ionization-mass spectrometer (APCI-MS) system was modified to introduce gaseous samples as well as to humidify sheath and auxiliary gases. Solutions of single odorants in pentane were evaporated inside a vessel in a dry environment (relative humidity 0-10%) and in a human-breath-like environment (relative humidity 88-98%) and subsequently analyzed in the positive ion mode. The results indicated that using dry nitrogen as sheath and auxiliary gases led to strong fragmentation of the molecules combined with a low sensitivity of detection. Humidification of both gases not only increased sensitivity but also resulted in the protonated molecular ion as the base peak in 5 of the 6 compounds studied (ethyl butyrate, 3-methyl-3-phenyl glycidic acid ethyl ester, γ-decalactone, (E)-2-hexenal, and cinnamic aldehyde). Only hexanal, which formed a cluster (m/z 183), did not have the protonated molecular ion as base peak. It was found that the humidity of the sample itself did not have any influence on sensitivity or fragmentation.
- Aroma release