New Trends in Sample Preparation Techniques for Food Analysis

by Oscar Núñez, Ph.D. and Paolo Lucci, Ph.D., editors

This book is part of the Analytical Chemistry and Microchemistry series of books and e-books found on the Nova Science Publishers website.

Nova Science Publishers, Inc., New York [2016] 266 pages
ISBN 9781634850896 (e-book) | ISBN 9781634850728 (hardcover)

Book cover - Sample Prep Techniques for Food Analysis

New Trends in Sample Preparation Techniques for Food Analysis is exactly what the title states: a collection of the most recently studied sample preparation methods for isolating complex food matrices for analysis. In each of the seven chapters, the authors discuss the need for sample integrity, rapid analysis, cost-effective and environmentally-friendly methods, precision, and reproducibility that have led to the development of analytical approaches to meet these demands. The importance of the sample preparation step in achieving quality analytical results is emphasized in the researched techniques, and applied to the detection of a wide variety of food components and contaminants in food products, such as mycotoxins, antibiotics, pharmaceutical residues, pollutants, carcinogens, phytochemicals, and many more.

This book is comprised of seven chapters written by multiple authors and the editors:

  • A Preface
  • Seven chapters
    • Chapter 1: Novel Sorbent Material for Off-Line and On-Line Solid-Phase Extraction Applied to Food Analysis
    • Chapter 2: Application of Molecularly Imprinted Polymers to Solid-Phase Extraction in Food Analysis
    • Chapter 3: Turbulent Flow Chromatography in Food Analysis
    • Chapter 4: QuEChERS (Quick, Easy, Cheap, Effective, Rugged, and Safe) Procedures in Food Sample Preparation
    • Chapter 5: Microextraction Methods in Food Sample Preparation
    • Chapter 6: Ionic Liquids in Food Analysis Sample Preparation
    • Chapter 7: Supercritical Fluid Extraction (SFE) for Rapid and Efficient Sample Preparation, with a Special Focus on Food Contaminants
  • Background information about the editors
  • An Index

While reading this book, I found the text to be dense and challenging, yet interesting. As a biologist, albeit with a basic understanding of the described analytical systems, such as gas and liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry, some of the sample preparation techniques were new to me, and I, therefore, found myself researching specific vocabulary to help me through a few of the chapters. On this note, I liked that each chapter began with an introduction to the sample preparation techniques in focus. This offered background information about the techniques and how they were useful to food analysis. Some authors went into greater detail on the theory behind the sample preparation techniques, and then compared that which is currently known about the trending techniques to experimentally-tested methods and results.

The studies provided were excellent for emphasizing the wide range of applicability to food sample analysis, the best scientific approach to use, and the expected range of results. While some of the referenced scientific methods were described, and results explained by the authors, other studies were simply referenced in a sentence or two and not fully explained. I did not care for this approach, simply because I was left wanting more information about the results of the studies; however, an extensive list of references is provided after each chapter for further exploration.

The book includes numerous tables, charts, diagrams/schematics, and a few pictures to help the reader create a visual representation of the step-by-step sample preparation and analysis processes the authors are describing, such as the following SPE-HPLC-MS/MS configuration and schematic.

SPE-HPLC-MS/MS configuration and schematic

SPE-HPLC-MS/MS schematic shown as an example of the book’s illustrations.

SPE-HPLC-MS/MS configuration shown as an example of the book’s illustrations.

One criticism I have is the large number of acronyms used throughout the book. The use of acronyms in scientific writing is always necessary so text is both succinct and meaningful; however, I think it would have been beneficial if the editors had created a glossary or index of acronyms used throughout the book, so readers did not have to rely on memory. I often had to refer back to previous pages to remind myself what the less well-known acronyms stood for. In Chapter 6, for example, the authors created a table of acronyms for a long list of ions relevant to the techniques being discussed. I found this extremely helpful, as I was not scanning paragraphs in search of a specific acronym.

Table of acronyms.

A useful table of acronyms found in Chapter 6.

The other criticism is that word order and sentence structure in a few chapters did not seem to follow the common English subject-verb-object format. At times my concentration was shifted from the scientific content of the text to differently structured sentences. In some cases, sentences required scrutinous reading to avoid misinterpretation of the message the authors were trying to convey.

Overall, this book offers a wealth of valuable information in food sample preparation and analysis. The authors have put together a compilation of new sample preparation methods, some of which do not require purchasing expensive instrumentation or tools outside of a well-equipped laboratory. Both variations of established and new methods have been described to separate complex food matrices for the detection of almost every kind of compound, contaminant, and nutrient in food samples. Innovative sample preparation methods for food analysis will continue to be essential for a growing world population, and for the need to detect toxins in food samples as environmental pollution and industrial development and automation continue to rise, among other future challenges.