B&W Tek

Rapid raw material identification for formulation compounds using handheld Raman technology

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Courtesy of B&W Tek

Ever since the European Medicines Agency (EMA) recommended that all pharmaceutical companies test every raw material that passes through their manufacturing facilities, this practice has attracted great interest in the nutraceuticals, food manufacturing, cosmetics, and agricultural industries, pushing them to strive for more rigorous and technology-oriented quality control standards. In recent years, handheld Raman technology has gained a noticeable market in raw materials identification in various industries where traditional analytical techniques like HPLC and NIR spectroscopy have been the primary technologies. The surge of handheld Raman instrumentation is mainly due to advancements in Raman technology such as small lasers and detectors with good sensitivity and at a lower price that has led to faster, smaller, more rugged, and less expensive analytical tools that require minimum training for use. The fact that Raman technology requires no sample preparation, no direct contact with the sample, and has the capability to test a sample through transparent packing material such as glass or plastic has made it an ideal tool for rapid raw material identification.

In this study, four typical ingredients used as excipients in the food industry and for pharmaceutical and nutraceutical products were tested for raw material identification: whey, sorbitol, stearic acid, and calcium phosphate dihydrate dibasic. The data presented in this study were collected using a NanoRam® handheld Raman spectrometer from B&WTek. With a 785nm wavelength laser excitation source, the NanoRam is a compact, handheld Raman spectrometer with an integrated computing system for material identification and verification. Using intelligent principal component analysis (PCA) model building software and on-board spectral libraries, the NanoRam allows for the rapid development of reliable methods for identification and verification of raw materials. Identification of an unknown compound is achieved in a very short timespan (typically less than 30 seconds), making it a practical choice for rapid identification and verification purposes.

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