Experts at multi-detection microplate reader firm BMG Labtech have used the company’s SPECTROstar Nano to conduct quality control testing of distilled beverages.
The distilled beverage industry is creating new products at a rapid pace. But at the same time, it is under constant attack from counterfeiters and those who would adulterate or dilute distilled spirits and liqueurs.
Recently, it has been discovered that UV-Visible spectroscopy provides a rapid and powerful tool to test the quality of distilled spirits and to detect adulterated and counterfeit products.
Distilled spirits are broadly classified as white and aged spirits.
As spirits age in the wood they pick up sugars, tannins, other complex biochemical components and colour and undergo considerable chemical reactions.
This changes the profile of the spirit in complex and still largely unresolved ways.
In addition, for some spirit designations colouring, sugar, citric acid and botanicals may be present.
Changes in aging and the addition of components may be followed or detected through UV-visible scanning of samples.
The SPECTROstar Nano microplate reader can rapidly and precisely measure the spectra of multiple samples at a time.
The integrated spectrometer can take spectra over time and the MARS data evaluation software shows overlay plots of all measurements allowing near-real-time evaluation of distilled spirit quality.
Distilled spirits should be examined undiluted and are tested using small volumes which allow for very short path-lengths - an important criterion when measuring darker coloured or more complex spirits and liqueurs.
For purposes of authentication a data library of specific style and brand “fingerprints” is acquired and stored within the MARS software.
It is then a simple matter of calling up the appropriate data set to compare with newly acquired sample data and render “go-no go”, recall decisions based upon the results obtained.
Typically, spectra are recorded from about 250 to 400 nanometres and a notable feature for many spirits is a broad band centred about 280 nanometres, whose amplitude changes according to the type of spirit and brand.
Unique fingerprints are defined both from within the same style, and with brand differences depending upon process, blending, additives and aging.
Over time a library of product fingerprints can be generated which can help in maintaining product quality, and detecting adulteration of the product.
BMG Labtech shows the power of UV-visible spectroscopy using the SPECTROstar Nano in quality control testing of distilled beverages. It is useful in brand authentication and in counterfeit and adulterant studies.
To read the full application note, please download the attached PDF above.