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PhytoChemia Acta


GC Analysis – Part VIII. Calibrated Compound Quantification

17 September 2015

Alexis St-Gelais, M. Sc., chimiste – Popularization Although it constitutes a large part of our activities at PhytoChemia, essential oils analyses are in fact a special case for chemists. Indeed, it is one of the only cases (along with hydrosols, fatty acids methyl esters and a handful of other applications) where the approximation “concentration ≈ % […]

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Ethylhexyl palmitate and you

31 August 2015

Alexis St-Gelais, M. Sc, Chimiste – Popularization Essential oils are worth quite a lot of money. It so happens that, in order to boost profits, unscrupulous people alter oils in various ways. This “Adulterants and you” series is there to introduce you to some of the adulterations we encounter. This is because not all of […]

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Question from the public: Phthalates contamination in essential oil

4 June 2015

 Hubert Marceau, chemist, B.Sc. I have recently been asked if it was possible that diethyl phthalate be naturally present in an essential oil, more precisely in a Cyperus scariosus sample where about 5% of DEP was detected. Here is our answer:  Bioaccumulation of DEP in plant. There have been a nice review, a bit aged […]

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Aromatherapy: Is it easy to know if essential oils are safe ?

20 April 2015

Laurie Caron, chemist, M.Sc. – Popularization  In the last few weeks, I saw many discussions on LinkedIn/Facebook groups about aromatherapy. Some people seem to be highly concerned by this subject and they want to know how to use essential oils safely. So, I asked myself what was my knowledge about this topic? First of all, […]

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GC Analysis – Part VII. Hydrosol Analysis

15 March 2015

Alexis St-Gelais, M. Sc., chimiste – Popularization We have previously seen a worked example of essential oil analysis. Hydrosols can be analysed in about just the same way as essential oils. Yet, there is one huge difference between a pure essential oil and an hydrosol: the latter is always a solution. This implies some specific […]

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Quality Control 101, Part I. Third Party Testing is Good for You

14 February 2015

Alexis St-Gelais, M. Sc., chimiste – Popularization Any business in the field of natural substances production (encompassing health products, extracts, refined phytochemicals, herbs, essential oils, and anything comprising one of these ingredients) will eventually have to take a stand about the kind of quality control that should be performed on its products. In many cases, […]

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Food fraud: Common or not? – The importance of quality control in the industry

9 January 2015

Laurie Caron – Popularization   In recent months, a particular topic emerged in the media: food fraud. But what is it? By definition, there is food fraud when food is marketed with intentionally mislead the consumer1. An example of a rather eloquent fraud, nicknamed “Horsegate“, took place in 2013 in Europe. Frozen meals from the […]

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Draw Me a Terpene

9 November 2014

Alexis St-Gelais – Popularization One of the strangest aspects of the life of a chemist is to constantly be working with something we can (almost) never see as a unit: a molecule. In fact, a considerable part of our job is to draw conclusions from data obtained indirectly in order to deduce the structure of […]

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The importance of plant identification – Part 3

31 October 2014

Hubert Marceau – Popularization Figure 1: S. lycopersicum (Source) Have you ever heard of Tomtatoes? It is tomato plant, Solanum lycopersicum (Figure 1), graft on a potato plant, Solanum tuberosum. This gives a plant that bear edible roots (tubers to be more precise) and fruits. Why not them start using all the rest and make a salad […]

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The importance of plant identification – Part 1

20 October 2014

Hubert Marceau – Popularization Figure 1: C. sativa (source) October 1st 2014 will surely be a memorable day for a retired man from Georgia, USA. To his suprise, a heavily armed police force assisted by a K9 unit and a helicopter dropped in his garden. The local police department were suspecting the presence of Cannabis sp. (Figure […]

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