Area Response mV.s ppb Calculated
25% Fruit Gin 21.145 31.23
40% White Rum 21.745 34.61
60% White Rum 16.881 7. 23
Cachaca 29.005 75.46
Saki 23.36 43.69
100 ppb standard 16.681 n/a
The volatile component profiles of alcoholic beverage products
consist of a wide range of compounds, including acids, alcohols, aldehydes and other trace-level flavor compounds. Many
compounds contribute to the aromas and flavors experienced
by the consumer. The volatile compounds interact with receptors in the nasal passages creating the aroma sensation. Flavor,
however, is experienced as a combination of aroma and taste.
The unique sensory properties of different types and brands of
alcoholic beverage products often are due to minor differences
among the volatile components present.
In addition to alcohols and flavor compounds, trace components and impurities, such as sulfur gases, occasionally are present, and might lead to off-odors or flavors in the product.
These compounds can be generated by contaminants in raw
materials used in the beverage, migration into the beverage
from process equipment or packaging materials, as well as
degradation of naturally occurring flavor compounds due to
oxidation or exposure to light or heat. Changes in the relative
concentrations of these compounds can result in an undesirable
change in the flavor of the beverage. Therefore, accurately pro-
filing the compounds contributing to flavor and aroma, which
can span a wide range of volatility, is essential in ensuring
The compounds were analyzed using an Ellutia 200 Series
GC with a flame ionization detector and an EL-FFAP column.
To ensure an accurate injection a liquid sampler was used. The
liquid sampler produces a lower percentage of thermal discrim-
ination between volatile and lesser volatile molecules in the
sample injection when compared to the headspace autosampler.
The findings are shown in Figure 1.
As the ethanol content can be over 40 percent (v/v) in some
beverages, trace compounds would be difficult to analyze simul-
taneously with this level of ethanol present. However, adding a
timed event to switch between ranges during the analysis would
facilitate this. Trace compounds could be 1,000 times less con-
centrated than the ethanol. Therefore, a range switch during the
appearance of ethanol would bring the peak within a practical
scale to allow for the trace compounds to be analyzed in one run.
Analysis of alcoholic beverage products is crucial as the vol-
atile component profiles of products consist of a wide range of
compounds. Thus, gas chromatography is an extremely power-
ful tool for analysis. Testing for the presence of ethyl carbamate
in food and distilled alcoholic beverage products are thought
to help reduce the risk of developing cancer. Ethyl carbamate is
genotoxic and a multisite carcinogen in animals and probably
carcinogenic to humans. This analysis helps companies produce
more desirable products and ensure product quality, which is
imperative for success in the food and drink industry.
Table 2: Results for each of the five samples, as well as a 100 ppb
Figure 1: Chromatogram of nine compounds found in alcoholic beverages.