What is Deformulation?

De*for*mu*la*tion (n)
1. The separation, identification and quantitation of ingredients in a sample

2. A chemistry-based reverse engineering process used to determine the components of a commercial preparation of a formulation

The Deformulation Lab Process

Deformulating a product or formulation requires breaking it down into the basic components.  The end goal being able to accurately identify and quantify all of the ingredients within the formulation so that it can be studied or reproduced with all of the product’s physical properties associated with it remaining the same.  Since some formulations contain a large number of ingredients, some of which that are in small quantities and tend to resist separation from the matrix, this can be a tricky task to preform.  The use of multiple analytical instruments and separation techniques is needed in order to properly quantify all of the minor ingredients and additives.

Analytical Testing LaboratoryScientists use analytical techniques such as solvent extractions, chromatography, and electrophoresis to separate a formulation down to its raw components. Next, organic and inorganic chemical testing methods such as FT-IR, NMR, GC/MS, LC/MS, SEM/EDXA, and ICP are used to identify the chemical class of major and minor components. Testing instruments, such as those used at Avomeen, are often equipped with spectral libraries and matching software, allowing for a definitive determination of chemical composition.

A deformulation analysis can be performed on a wide range of products, including food, beverages, perfumes, cosmetics, cleaners, plastics, polymers, rubber, metals, and medicines.

Common Reasons to Perform a Deformulation Analysis:

  • A product formulation has been lost due to an unexpected occurrence such as a fire, the formulator passing away, or poor documentation.
  • A former employee is now working for your competition who’s product is now very similar to yours.
  • You believe that a competitor is infringing upon your products patents.
  • You have a product or formulation that you really like and want to produce, but do not know the ingredients or instructions on how to formulate it.
  • To preform an in-depth competitor product analysis at a chemical level.
  • Belief that their is a contamination within your product or raw material.  You have a product failure issue that you would like to have identified and solved.
  • A competitor is making unusual marketing claims and you want to know if their product formulation confirms these claims.
  • Your competition suddenly reduced their product’s pricing and you would like to know if they are doing so but cutting the quality of their product.
  • You would like to know what is giving a similar product to yours an extra performance boost or unique odor/appearance.