Analysis and quantification of short-chain fatty acids in fermentation processes


Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are volatile organic compounds released during fermentation. Accurate knowledge of the concentration ratio of SCFAs in a given fermentation process is important for determining the ferment quality and its organoleptic (as well as olfactory) properties. An on-line method is needed to measure these substances simultaneously.


Mass spectrometry - especially EI-MS - suffers from fragmentation of higher fatty acids (e.g. by separation of methyl groups). This typically results in signal amplification for lower SCFA fragments and obscures the true concentration. V&F ion molecular reaction mass spectrometers (IMR-MS) can be calibrated, and therefore fragmentation patterns can be predicted at lower SCFAs. By directly measuring the gas phase above the liquid phase in the bioreactor, SCFA concentration ratios can be measured on-line.

Photo Industry Solution V&F Food, Beverages and Perfume Industry Fermentation


The sophisticated V&F mass spectrometer system uses the softionization method, which keeps fragmentation to an absolute minimum. Volatile substances produced by bacteria can be measured highly selectively and with excellent sensitivity in the gas space above the fermentation process. The instrument's ability to measure multiple substances simultaneously in real-time provides a method for quality control during the industrial fermentation process.


  • Measurement of SCFAs during fermentation
  • No sampling, no sample preparation
  • Quality control

Reference clients (excerpt)

Reference Danone

Applicable instruments