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Volatiles from liquids

Profiling of volatiles and detection of contaminants

Wine glassesA wide range of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) contribute to the characteristic flavours of beverages such as fruit juice and wine. As for food analysis, understanding the VOC profiles of beverages can help manufacturers and suppliers to identify the factors affecting customer perception, and so make improvements to production processes.

Aroma profiling is also valuable to help identify undesirable characteristics such as off-odours and contaminants, whether in the final product or the raw materials – an area that also has relevance to monitoring of water.

However, liquids can be troublesome to analyse because of the need to separate the volatile components from bulk components such as water, ethanol or acetic acid, in order to avoid overload of the analytical system.

Extraction and distillation were for a long time standard approaches to this problem, but these are labour-intensive, and are increasingly being superseded by more convenient sampling techniques (which also lessen the risk of losing the most volatile components).


What Markes can offer

Thermal desorption systems

Sampling vapours onto sorbent tubes, with analysis by thermal desorption (TD), is a useful method for analysing volatiles from liquids, because it provides the high level of concentration enhancement needed for detailed chemical analysis. It also involves minimal sample preparation and is readily automated, and so is a convenient alternative to conventional sample preparation methods.

In addition, Markes’ UNITY-xr and TD100-xr thermal desorbers are particularly well-suited to the challenges of analysis of the volatiles in liquid samples, for the following reasons:

  • The short, inert flow path ensures compatibility with reactive compounds such as mercaptans, amines, and oxygenated species, which often have very low odour thresholds.

  • The cryogen-free focusing trap allows selective elimination of unwanted, high-concentration interferents including water, ethanol and acetic acid, which might otherwise compromise detection of trace-level target compounds.

Sample preparation and automation equipment

Markes' Centri sample preparation and preconcentration system incorporates all the features of Markes' TD equipment for tube-based sampling, and additionally allows analysis of liquids using headspace, SPME and HiSorb high-capacity sorptive extraction – all on one system.

Trap-based focusing boosts sensitivity in all sampling modes, and opens up options for water management and sample re-collection for repeat analysis.

Detecting compounds in complex matrices

Aroma profiling of beverages often requires detailed interrogation of complex chromatograms, to confirm the presence (or absence) of key target components, such as trace-level odour-active or taint compounds. It is also often necessary to determine the non-target compounds present, for instance when comparing similar products.

Markes’ TargetView software can help reduce the amount of time spent on these tasks. Through a combination of ‘intelligent’ background compensation, compound deconvolution and library matching, it does away with the need to manually process complex GC–MS profiles, producing a simple report that lists the analytes found in the sample. 

Further information

Markes International Ltd
Gwaun Elai Medi-Science Campus
Tel: +44 (0)1443 230935
Markes International GmbH
Bieberer Straße 1-7
63065 Offenbach am Main
Tel: +49 (0)69 6681089-10
USA (West)
Markes International, Inc.
2355 Gold Meadow Way
Gold River, Sacramento
California 95670
Tel: +1 866-483-5684 (toll-free)
Markes Instruments (Shanghai) Co., Ltd
Unit 1002, Building 1
No.418, Guilin Road
Shanghai 200233
P.R. China
Tel: +86 21 5465 1216
Part of Schauenburg International

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