2D Gas Chromatography: One Small Step for Man, One Giant Leap for Essential Oil

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Terpene Belt Farms

Traditional one-dimensional gas chromatography (or 1D GC) is a technology used to identify and quantify the components of a complex matrix. It has limited effectiveness when analyzing oils with a high degree of complexity. Given that cannabis is the most complex of all naturally occurring oil matrices, the depth of our insight has been restricted by the technologies being applied in the space.

Chromatographers have sought innovative ways to overcome this problem by introducing a second dimension to the chromatography process. One such technique is comprehensive gas chromatography, which is better known as 2D GC. On average, 2D GC analysis has five times the sensitivity and gains three times the number of compound identifications of high resolution GC runs. As such, GC x GC represents an important breakthrough in gas chromatography techniques which are finally being applied in cannabis.

As a technique that has been around for over 25 years, some may argue that the technique is recently over-hyped as a complicated research tool that doesn’t have a place in cannabis quality assurance labs. At Terpene Belt Farms, we find that delivering the highest customer experience possible requires us to explore every tool available. Another industry leader, Abstrax Tech has developed a set of metrics to quantify the gas and skunk our noses have been picking up and honing in on for years. They published a peer reviewed paper recently with their findings related to the identification of volatile sulfur compounds in cannabis, coining the compounds “canna-sulfurs”.

A 2D GC Analysis of 2021 Fruit #9

Today, in conjunction with Veda Scientific, we share the 2D analysis of the rarest variety we farmed during the 2021 growing season: Fruit #9 (Ocimene Terpene Class). In an effort to usher in additional transparency, we have included the raw data used to generate the report visualization.

Veda Scientific’s 2D analysis of Fruit #9 reveals:

“Integration of 2021 Fruit #9 (V211202-454) using a deconvolution algorithm generated 893 peaks and 183 identified compounds, only 21 of which can be mapped to available terpene standards (from SPEX with 40 terpenes), but these 21 peaks account for 54.95% of the peak areas (which estimate their relative quantities). The other 45.05% of the peak areas consist of 27.97% sesquiterpenes (with 35 compounds identified), 14.50% monoterpenes (with 55 compounds identified), 0.91% esters (with 14 compounds identified), 0.46% other volatile compounds (58 compounds identified) and 1.22% unidentified.”


Check out the full analysis by Veda Scientific.

Working side by side with other industry thought leaders, we hope to deliver raw materials that are on trend with the noses, tongues, and research of the day.

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