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GCMS vs HPLC. What is the difference?

GCMS (Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry) Mitra Ayu to analyze essential oil

GCMS (Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry) and HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) are commonly used to test the quality of essential oil. Many chemical compounds, including metabolites can be analyzed by GCMS and HPLC, because they have similar basic principle of compound separation, identification, and quantification [1]. However, not all the metabolite compounds are easily separated by GCMS or HPLC. Understanding when to use GCMS or HPLC is very important.

HPLC (High Performance Liquid Chromatography) Mitra Ayu to analyze essential oil

GCMS can characterize and analyze the compounds that have low molecular weight and stable in high temperature, such as volatile compounds (VOCs). But, it will be difficult if the target are proteins. Amino acids and sugars can be determined with derivatization. HPLC is best used on sample that can be diluted in solvent [1], such as amino acids, organic acids, alkaloids. Please see below the comparison between GCMS and HPLC.


GCMS requires high temperature to separate the molecules since it means faster elution in minutes or even seconds. On the other hand, the elution of HPLC generally takes about 10-60 minutes. GCMS typically has lower cost of operation because the instrument only requires gas containers and carrier, which is usually cheaper than solvents [2]. However, HPLC can analyze almost all types of liquid samples. It can also analyze larger and less stable compounds because testing can be done in room temperature.

Mitra Ayu QC Lab runs both analysis, GCMS and HPLC, on our raw material, in process samples, and final products to ensure we deliver only the best quality products to our customers. As an example, we run GCMS on the Massoia Bark (raw material), Massoia Bark CO2 Extract (in process sample), and Massoia Lactone (final product) to determine the % DecaLactone (C10), % DodecaLactone (C12), % Benzyl Benzoate.

For HPLC example, we regularly test piperine, the main component that creates pungency in Black Pepper Oil, as well as nicotine (from Tobacco Extract CO2), caffein (from Coffee Extract CO2), curcumin (from Turmeric Extract CO2) and many others.

Still have questions on how Mitra Ayu analyzes its products using GCMS and HPLC? We will be happy to explain further. Please contact us.


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