Automated Liquid Handlers for Flavor Sample Compounding

The compounding of flavor samples is a very tedious and labor-intensive operation for any laboratory. Formulating single-flavor formulas for initial screening is bad enough. However, when optimizing a formula that requires many formulas with only minor variations in just one or two ingredients, the work becomes so tedious that the rate of error rises and the quality of evaluation suffers because of concern for the accuracy of the sample preparation.

We have found that the use of an automatic flavor sample processor has been of great benefit to our lahoratory in speeding the creating of flavor samples, and providing more accurate measurements. Flavorists are able to spend more time in creative work, and at the same time do a better job of optimizing flavors through the use of a wider range of alternate formulas for evaluation.

One such processor (Figure 1) utilizes a pipettor that, with a single piston, provides a range of about 250 to 1 in the amount that it can pick up and deposit. The 0.5 ml piston delivers a range from 0.002 ml to 0.5 ml. The tray contains five racks of tubes or bottles. Racks of 3.5 ml tubes have a maximum capacity of 6 rows of 18 in each row or 108 per rack. Thus a total of 540 tubes can be used at one time. For normal work, four trays of 108 giving 432 ingredients will be available to formulate into one tray of 108 small tubes, or a smaller number of larger bottles.

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