Essential Oil Purity Testing – What is GCMS Test of Essential Oils and Why It Matters?

Essential Oil Purity Testing

GC/MS Testing is one of the most trusted methods for quality testing of essential oils in current times. A lot of companies in our industry are doing this test and a lot of customers as well are considering this as an important factor while buying things like essential oils. So, in this article, we will explain what is GC/MS Test? Why this analysis is used so much right now? And what is its importance in reporting quality testing?

This is a complete guide to GC-MS Test for oil analysis with easy-to-understand explanation.

What is the GC/MS Test for Essential Oils?

GC/MS is short for ‘Gas Chromatography / Mass Spectrometry’. It is used to check the purity of volatile organics such as essential oils.

In this method, what we actually do is separate all the constituents of the essential oils, identify each compound present in it, and find out their actual percentages in the oil. Chromatography helps in separating each individual component and Spectrometry helps in identifying each of these components and calculating their quantity.

Since essential oils are quite volatile, their properties and aroma depend on their chemical composition. While we can recreate them using synthetic ways, we know that the natural method is always purer and more beneficial. That is GC/MS testing is done and a report is generated for each lot to prove that the essential oils made are 100% pure and organic.

It is currently the most high-standard testing method for quality testing of oils.


How Essential Oils are Tested with GC-MS Testing?

As the name suggests, this is a combination of two tests: Chromatography and Spectrometry. I tried to explain the process in the easiest way possible. So, let us understand the complete method from start to finish.

Gcms schematic
The process starts with injecting the essential oils in a chamber where they are vaporized. Then with the help of inert carrier gas like helium, they enter a phase where each component moves at different speeds. This separates each component from the oil. This ends the gas chromatography process Now, to identify these individual parts, a computerized device is used which checks the positive and negative ion currents. This device also consists for a mass spectrometer. The results reveal molecular weights which are submitted in a database. This identifies the presence of each constituent and also quantifies it.

Importance of GC-MS Testing & Why it is used?

Essential oils are volatile aromatic liquids whose chemical structure and composition define their properties. Each essential oil in the world is different because it is a natural product. The climate of where the raw ingredients are cultivated, the soil in that land, the weather that year, the time of harvest, production factor, etc. Each factor makes each batch unique.

Here are some important reasons why performing GC-MS Testing is so important:

  1. Check Therapeutic Value: The benefits of essential oils are due to their therapeutic value. So, if there is even slight impurity in them, it can completely change their properties and related benefits. This can make them less useful.
  2. Safety Check: Impurity can also lead to altering their reaction on the human body and on specified groups like children and pregnant women. So, this test is important in verifying that the oils are safe.
  3. Detect Adulteration: This test can reveal the presence of any additive in the oils. This can cause headaches and adulteration. One more reason why it should be used.
  4. Accurate Information: It provides accurate information of each oil in the batch and proves that they have all the advantages as mentioned.

Two more things to also consider for this test is that first, it is very expensive because it should be performed on each batch. And second, reading the report and deriving results from it can only be done by an expert. Also, it should be noted that this is not the perfect method testing but it is far better than some other ones.

So, now you know everything about GCMS Testing Report in this guide. We have covered every basic information that an essential oil enthusiast and customer should know about. So, check for this test before buying your next essential oil.