Better analysis methods for vitamin D

Mar 27, 2012 By Rosalie Marion Bliss
Chemists Craig Byrdwell (foreground) and James Harnly, with the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, review data from one of the liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry machines used in a process called “triple-parallel mass spectrometry.” They use this procedure to analyze the amount of vitamin D in milk, orange juice, and dietary supplements. Credit: Stephen Ausmus

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) researchers with the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Md., design, develop and improve analytical methods for measuring nutritional components in the food supply. The Beltsville center is part of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.

As featured in a three-part series in the March 2012 issue of Agricultural Research magazine, the Beltsville center's Composition and Methods Development Laboratory is using new spectrometry methods to discover compounds in foods that have never before been documented.

Accurate data on the amount of vitamins and minerals in the U.S. food supply is critical to accurately assessing the intakes of these nutrients in the U.S. population. At the Beltsville center, chemist Craig Byrdwell has pioneered new, highly precise methods for analyzing vitamin D in foods and dietary supplements.

Byrdwell found that there are many ways in which multiple instruments that measure molecules can be used in parallel to provide much more information about food samples than single instruments used alone. These molecular mass-measuring instruments are called "mass spectrometers." One of Byrdwell's techniques is "triple-parallel mass spectrometry," in which three mass spectrometers, operating in different modes, are used in parallel.

Byrdwell's experiments also have shown that two systems for separating molecules (liquid chromatographs) can be used in combination to analyze complex for vitamin D and its metabolites. Byrdwell authored a book chapter describing his analysis methods, which appears in Extreme Chromatography, published by AOCS Press in Champaign, Ill. Byrdwell is also a coeditor of the book, which was published in May 2011.

Read more about the ARS national program for human nutrition monitoring in Agricultural Research magazine's March 2012 issue.

Explore further: Rooting out horse-meat fraud in the wake of a recent food scandal

Provided by USDA Agricultural Research Service

not rated yet
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Monitoring the population's food and supplement intakes

Mar 08, 2012

Collecting data on what the U.S. population actually consumes is a key nutrition monitoring step. Nutritionists then translate "foods eaten" into "nutrients consumed." This snapshot of the population's food-nutrient ...

Nutrient data in time for the new year

Jan 16, 2012

Two timely nutrient data sets provided by U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists are being used by the beef and pork industries to provide new Nutrition Facts labels for their products. Federal rules ...

Nutrient data available via phone apps, websites

Mar 20, 2012

Health-conscious owners of "smart phones" and home computers are thumbing and clicking their way to nutritious food choices. A downloadable version of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) flagship National ...

Recycling Food Scraps into Gardens

Sep 07, 2009

Each weekday, food scraps are collected from the Maryland Food Distribution Authority in Jessup, Md., and from small local food service and marketing establishments. Materials that do not contain metal, glass, ...

The stealth sodium revolution

Mar 08, 2012

Researchers with the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Health and Human Services have teamed up for HHS's sodium surveillance efforts.

Recommended for you

A refined approach to proteins at low resolution

7 hours ago

Membrane proteins and large protein complexes are notoriously difficult to study with X-ray crystallography, not least because they are often very difficult, if not impossible, to crystallize, but also because ...

Base-pairing protects DNA from UV damage

9 hours ago

Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich researchers have discovered a further function of the base-pairing that holds the two strands of the DNA double helix together: it plays a crucial role in protecting ...

Smartgels are thicker than water

9 hours ago

Transforming substances from liquids into gels plays an important role across many industries, including cosmetics, medicine, and energy. But the transformation process, called gelation, where manufacturers ...

Separation of para and ortho water

Sep 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Not all water is equal—at least not at the molecular level. There are two versions of the water molecule, para and ortho water, in which the spin states of the hydrogen nuclei are different. ...

User comments : 0