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Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) Test Results - How Can They Be Used?

The data collected by way of the combined GC/MS test can be used to compare the specific constituents and their percentages to those of a known sample that possesses reliable purity and is of the optimal quality for the specific botanical.

Gas Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry results are used in a multitude of ways including the following:

  • Unusual levels of particular constituents in the tested oil can flag that the oil is of inferior quality or has been adulterated. These results can act as a forewarning to suppliers, retailers and manufacturers.
  • Distillers, who of course already know whether the oil they are testing is pure or not, often test their oils to compare them with previous distillations. This helps them assess quality between harvests and distillations.
  • If the GC/MS results determine that the oil contains an unsuitable level of certain constituents, distillers/producers may adulterate the oil so that the oil appears to be of higher quality.
  • Suppliers and large end users often test their essential oils to ensure purity and quality.
  • Manufacturers in other industries such as in the personal fragrancing and food/beverage industries where purity is not a concern use the results to identify whether the levels of key constituents are suitable and if not, to potentially alter the oil until the constituent ratios are satisfactory.


This topic consists of several separate related articles. Use the links shown below to navigate through the series.

Next: Part 8: Organoleptic Testing of Essential Oils

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