Due to legal regulations, the rise of globalised (online) commerce and the need for public health protection, the analysis of spirit drinks (alcoholic beverages >15% vol) is a task with growing importance for governmental and commercial laboratories. In this article a newly developed method using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy for the simultaneous determination of 15 substances relevant to assessing the quality and authenticity of spirit drinks is described. The new method starts with a simple and rapid sample preparation and does not need an internal standard. For each sample, a group of 1
H-NMR spectra is recorded, among them a two-dimensional spectrum for analyte identification and one-dimensional spectra with suppression of solvent signals for quantification. Using the Pulse Length Based Concentration Determination (PULCON) method, concentrations are calculated from curve fits of the characteristic signals for each analyte. The optimisation of the spectra, their evaluation and the transfer of the results are done fully automatically. Glucose, fructose, sucrose, acetic acid, citric acid, formic acid, ethyl acetate, ethyl lactate, acetaldehyde, methanol, n-propanol, isobutanol, isopentanol, 2-phenylethanol and 5-(hydroxymethyl)furfural (HMF) can be quantified with an overall accuracy better than 8%. This new NMR-based targeted quantification method enables the simultaneous and efficient quantification of relevant spirit drinks ingredients in their typical concentration ranges in one process with good accuracy. It has proven to be a reliable method for all kinds of spirit drinks in routine food control.
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