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J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Sep 11;50(19):5255-61.

Determination of carboxylic acids in vinegars and in Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale di Modena by HPLC and GC methods.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, via G. Campi 183, 41100 Modena, Italy.


The presence of carboxylic acids in grape products has been investigated for a long time by researchers, from both the qualitative and quantitative points of view. Evaluation of carboxylic acids requires the study and optimization of some operative variables which are strictly related to the matrix. In particular, the determination of organic acids in real matrixes such as Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale of Modena (ABTM; a traditional balsamic vinegar made from cooked grape must) is often difficult because of the presence of numerous interferences that need to be removed by separation techniques. To this aim, in the present work a solid-phase extraction (SPE) method with C18 and NH(2) exchangers was used to clean the ABTM samples prior to analysis or further treatments. Both HPLC and GC techniques were used to determine organic acids. The efficiency of these two different analytical techniques in the study of ABTM acidic composition has been evaluated. Both methods separately were not able to supply all the data related to carboxylic acids. In particular, HPLC allows acetic and lactic acids quantification, but gluconic and succinic acids are better determined by GC. As far as tartaric, citric, and malic acids are concerned, both HPLC and GC methods give statistically equivalent results. The variation of the single acidic species composition along a series of casks furnished interesting information regarding the chemical transformations taking place during the aging process of this product.

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