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: New non-invasive device tests the quality of chicken products

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

Rice chemist wins 'Nobel Prize of Cyprus'

5 hours ago

Rice University organic chemist K.C. Nicolaou has earned three prestigious international honors, including the Nemitsas Prize, the highest honor a Cypriot scientist can receive and one of the most prestigious ...

Bamboo pale Ale beer from modern craft brewery

Aug 14, 2014

In order to be a novel alternative in the industry of microbreweries in Mexico, a young entrepreneur opted for the manufacture and marketing of a beer made from bamboo, first of its kind in the country and ...

Coffee withdrawal

Aug 14, 2014

Coffee: It leaves some people feeling fit and refreshed; in others, it makes their heart race. Scientists have developed several decaffeination processes to allow even people who react badly to caffeine to ...

User comments : 0