UL Improves Taste and Odor Testing
Underwriters Laboratories (UL), a global leader in drinking water quality and safety, has made significant improvements to testing methods for taste and odor compounds in municipal drinking water, by making procedures more sensitive and faster.
The most common causes of taste and odor issues are geosmin and 2-methylisoborneaol (MIB), which are naturally occurring compounds produced by blue-green algae (cyanobacteria), diatoms, and actinomycetes. In addition to geosmin and MIB, other compounds such as haloanisoles, pyrazines, beta-cyclocitral and d-limonene can frequently cause unpleasant taste and odor in water supplies.
"UL understands that the taste and odor issues can have a significant impact on our customers, and other municipal water supplies if they are not treated quickly. Municipalities and their constituents shouldn't have to wait for an answer while the problem continues to grow," says Dennis Leeke, business manager, UL Global Water Business.
To improve upon the widely-used Standard Method 6040D for analyzing drinking water taste and odor issues, UL added isotope dilution, chemical ionization (CI), and tandem mass spectrometry techniques. UL increased the sensitivity, accuracy and precision of the method, while reducing the matrix effects and instrumental variation by using isotopically labeled analogs as the internal standards.
UL also developed a second in-house method designated as V210, which allows the company to rapidly quantitate a wide range of drinking water taste and odor compounds. Unlike similar testing methods, which usually take three or more weeks to complete, UL's proprietary method enables analysis results within 48 hours. To gather results quickly for its customers, UL's V210 method uses gas chromatograpy-mass spectrometry with electron impact ionization, selected ion storage, and purge-and-trap techniques.