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J Chromatogr A. 2012 Mar 23;1230:1-7. doi: 10.1016/j.chroma.2012.01.037. Epub 2012 Jan 21.

Automated and quantitative headspace in-tube extraction for the accurate determination of highly volatile compounds from wines and beers.

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Laboratory for Flavor Analysis and Enology, Institute of Engineering of Aragón, I3A. Department of Analytical Chemistry, Faculty of Sciences, University of Zaragoza, 50009 Zaragoza, Spain.


An automatic headspace in-tube extraction (ITEX) method for the accurate determination of acetaldehyde, ethyl acetate, diacetyl and other volatile compounds from wine and beer has been developed and validated. Method accuracy is based on the nearly quantitative transference of volatile compounds from the sample to the ITEX trap. For achieving that goal most methodological aspects and parameters have been carefully examined. The vial and sample sizes and the trapping materials were found to be critical due to the pernicious saturation effects of ethanol. Small 2 mL vials containing very small amounts of sample (20 μL of 1:10 diluted sample) and a trap filled with 22 mg of Bond Elut ENV resins could guarantee a complete trapping of sample vapors. The complete extraction requires 100 × 0.5 mL pumping strokes at 60 °C and takes 24 min. Analytes are further desorbed at 240 °C into the GC injector under a 1:5 split ratio. The proportion of analytes finally transferred to the trap ranged from 85 to 99%. The validation of the method showed satisfactory figures of merit. Determination coefficients were better than 0.995 in all cases and good repeatability was also obtained (better than 7% in all cases). Reproducibility was better than 8.3% except for acetaldehyde (13.1%). Detection limits were below the odor detection thresholds of these target compounds in wine and beer and well below the normal ranges of occurrence. Recoveries were not significantly different to 100%, except in the case of acetaldehyde. In such a case it could be determined that the method is not able to break some of the adducts that this compound forms with sulfites. However, such problem was avoided after incubating the sample with glyoxal. The method can constitute a general and reliable alternative for the analysis of very volatile compounds in other difficult matrixes.

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