Researchers at the University of Arkansas have discovered a method to characterize polyvinyl acetate in chewing gum that could allow gum manufacturers to experiment with new gum base formulations.
The study by Tisdale and Wilkins, published in the journal Analytica Chimica Acta, details a method for MALDI mass spectrometry analysis that could allow chewing gum makers to develop novel gum bases.
Synthetic polymer polyvinyl acetate is regularly used in chewing gum bases along with elastomers, fats, waxes and emulsifiers.
Assessing new gum base compositions
It makes up almost 60% of the gum base and is preferred by many manufacturers because it is readily available, has strong chewing properties and improves film formation.
“As with any synthetic polymer, its physical properties directly depend on its overall composition, namely on the molecular weight distribution, chemical composition distribution, functionality type distribution, and the architecture of the oligomeric chains,” said the researchers.
“Thus, development of an analytical method that would allow the determination of these distributions could be extremely beneficial in assessing new gum base compositions.”
MALDI mass spectrometry
They said that there were not many details on analytical methods for chewing gums, but said that most were based on identifying the gum’s low molecular weight components.
Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry had previously been used for analysis of synthetic polymers and the study authors researched if the method could be applied to polyvinyl acetate in chewing gum.
“It was shown that optimized MALDI mass spectrometry could be used successfully for characterization of polyvinyl acetate in commercially available chewing gum,” they concluded.
The researcher used pure polyvinyl acetate samples supplied by the International Chewing Gum Association (IGCA).
Analytica Chimica Acta 820 (2014 )92–103
‘Method development for compositional analysis of low molecular weight poly(vinyl acetate) by matrix-assisted/laser desorption-mass spectrometry and its application to analysis of chewing gum’
Authors: Evgenia Tisdale, CharlesWilkins