Beverage Aroma

Sensitive, Online Analysis of Aroma Compounds in Beverages

Background

Aroma and Flavor Compounds in Beverages

The characteristic aroma and flavor of many drinks – such as beer, wine, whisky and coffee – depend strongly on the relative concentrations of constituent compounds. These beverages contain a rich array of molecules, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and multiple isomeric compounds. Subtle changes in composition can significantly affect the flavor and palatability of a beverage.

The analysis of VOCs in alcoholic beverages is challenging because the high concentration of ethanol may interfere with accurate measurement of lower concentration VOCs that determine the unique flavors in the drink. Other important flavor molecules such as isohumulone (beer) and quercus lactone (whisky) are present as isomers, with each isomer having a strong impact on the character and taste of the beverage – but due to their similarity in structure are difficult to separate.

The high resolving power and sensitivity of the Vocus PTR-TOF, combined with engineering solutions specifically for the beverage industry, such as our high-throughput headspace sampling system, overcome these analytical challenges, allowing rapid and robust identification of flavor and off-flavor compounds.

Solutions

  • Fast Analysis of Headspace Aroma VOCs Using the Vocus PTR-TOF

    • Highest sensitivity available with sub-ppt limits of detection
    • High mass resolving power enables identification of individual compounds within complex mixtures
    • Real-time and fast data output capturing rapid changes in VOC concentrations
    • Fast gas chromatography (GC) can be coupled for separating compounds of interest from the high-concentration ethanol in alcoholic beverages.

    What is PTR-MS?

    Beverage Aroma

    Stacked gas chromatogram of a wine sample spiked with 10 ug/L of 4-ethylphenol, detected with a Vocus 2R PTR-TOF. The fast separation (less than 90 seconds) is employed primarily to exclude high-concentration ethanol, which is known to prevent online PTR-MS analysis of VOCs in alcohol-containing beverages.

     

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