Protein Analysis Services
Protein Analysis Services By NJ Labs
NJ Labs offers several methods for testing protein content or potency each with its own advantages and suitability, depending on the characteristics of the sample being tested. The following describes the methods we use:
- Modified Dumas Method: The Modified Dumas method is a faster and more modern approach to determine nitrogen content, which replaces the traditional Kjedahl wet chemistry technique. The primary purpose of the Modified Dumas method is to quantify the nitrogen content within a protein sample. Since proteins contain a relatively consistent percentage of nitrogen (approximately 16%), measuring nitrogen content allows for the calculation of a protein concentration in each sample. The nitrogen content is then used to calculate protein content using a conversion factor. This method is based on the principle that nitrogen in organic compounds is converted to nitrogen gas (N2) during high-temperature combustion. The nitrogen content in the sample is calculated using the ideal gas law (PV = nRT), where P is pressure, V is volume, n is the number of moles of nitrogen, R is the ideal gas constant, and T is the absolute temperature. The volume of nitrogen gas produced is then measured, allowing for the calculation of the nitrogen content in the sample, which can be used to determine the protein content using a conversion factor specific to the type of protein being analyzed. At NJ Labs, we performed Modified Dumas Method testing by using a Thermo Scientific Flash 2000 Elemental Analyzer. This instrument automates the entire process and provides a rapid and accurate determination of protein content in various samples, making it a valuable tool in nutritional analysis, food quality control, and biological research. It is known for its accuracy and precision in protein analysis.
- High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC): High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) is a powerful analytical technique used for the separation, identification, and quantification of individual components in a mixture. It is widely used in various fields, including chemistry, biochemistry, pharmaceuticals, and food science. HPLC is an advancement of traditional liquid chromatography, offering improved performance, speed, and sensitivity. We perform HPLC using post column derivatization to improve sensitivity and selectivity in the detection of specific compounds. Common examples of post-column derivatization include the derivatization of amino acids, carbohydrates, and other functional groups. By converting the analytes into derivatives with improved detectability, you can achieve better quantification and identification of compounds in complex samples. HPLC utilizing post column derivatization is valuable in various applications, such as drug development, quality control of pharmaceuticals, food testing, biochemical research, but is often used to analyze and quantify specific proteins or peptides in pharmaceuticals. It offers high sensitivity and specificity, making it suitable for protein analysis in complex mixtures.
- Mass Spectrometry (MS): MS is a versatile analytical technique used for the identification and quantification of various compounds including proteins. It works by separating ions based on their mass-to-charge ratio (m/z) and measuring their abundance. Overall, mass spectrometry is a versatile tool for protein analysis, enabling identification, quantification, and characterization of proteins in complex mixtures, such as biological samples or purified protein samples.
- Amino Acids Analysis: Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, but they are not considered complete proteins themselves. Proteins are large, complex molecules made up of long chains of amino acids linked together by peptide bonds. Each protein is composed of a specific sequence of amino acids arranged in a particular way, which determines its unique structure and function. When amino acids are linked together through peptide bonds in a specific sequence, they form a polypeptide chain, which is a precursor to a protein. The polypeptide chain can fold and interact with other chains to form a functional protein with a specific three-dimensional structure and function. Since there are 20 standard amino acids commonly found in proteins, NJ Labs is also highly skilled in amino acids analysis. You can learn more about our capabilities here
Whey Protein Analysis
NJ Labs performs a considerable amount of whey protein finished product testing for the Supplements Industry. Several types of analyses can be performed to assess the quality and characteristics of your whey protein sample with the choice of testing methods depending on the specific parameters you want to evaluate. Common tests for whey protein include:
- Protein Content Analysis: This test measures the percentage of protein in the whey protein sample, and we use the Dumas method for this purpose.
- Amino Acid Profiling: Amino acid analysis determines the quantity of amino acids in whey protein, and it is performed utilizing High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) with post column derivatization. It’s essential for assessing the protein’s nutritional value.
- Purity and Impurities: Various tests can identify and quantify impurities, contaminants, or adulterants in whey protein, such as heavy metals, pesticides, and microbial contaminants.
- Solubility and Mixability: These tests assess how well the whey protein powder dissolves and mixes in water or other liquids, which can affect its usability.
- Flavor and Sensory Evaluation: Sensory tests can assess the taste, odor, and texture of the whey protein, helping ensure it is palatable.
- Particle Size Distribution: Particle size analysis can determine the size and distribution of particles in the whey protein powder, which can affect mixability and mouthfeel.
- Viscosity Measurement: This measures the thickness or flow characteristics of a whey protein solution, which can be important for applications like beverages and protein shakes.
- Color Analysis: Color measurement helps ensure the whey protein meets color specifications, especially important for applications like sports nutrition beverages or food products.
- Gel Electrophoresis: Gel electrophoresis is used to assess the protein’s profile and confirm the presence of specific proteins, which is especially important for research and development.
- pH Measurement: Whey protein products should have a consistent pH level. Deviations from the expected pH can indicate issues with the product.
- Shelf-Life Testing: This involves analyzing the oxidative stability, moisture content, and other factors that can affect the shelf life of whey protein products.
- Certifications: Confirming that the whey protein carries specific certifications, such as being Kosher, Halal, or compliant with dietary restrictions, may require specific testing to ensure compliance.
- Labeling Compliance: Ensuring that the product’s label accurately reflects its contents is important for regulatory compliance.
- Microbial Testing: Whey protein products should be tested for the presence of harmful microorganisms.
- Allergen Testing: This is crucial to identify and quantify potential allergenic substances like milk proteins if cross-contamination is a concern.
- Nutritional Analysis: This involves testing for macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates), micronutrients, vitamins, and minerals to ensure the product meets nutritional claims.
The specific tests required can vary depending on the product’s intended use, quality standards, and regulatory requirements. For whey protein intended for nutritional supplements or food products, it’s essential to ensure protein content and safety.