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Determination of Ethanol Concentration in Alcoholic Beverages by Direct Analysis in Real Time Mass Spectrometry (DART-MS)



Edward R. Sisco, Elizabeth L. Robinson


Determination of the ethanol concentration in beverages remains a common request to forensic laboratories. While traditionally completed using headspace gas chromatography (HS-GC), this process involves lengthy run times and the need for specialized headspace sampling equipment for the GC system. The work presented here highlights a potential alternative to HS-GC analysis, using direct analysis in real time mass spectrometry (DART-MS). By incorporating a simple T-junction to the orifice of the mass spectrometer, analysis of the headspace of a beverage can be completed, resulting in measurement of the ethanol concentration in a matter of seconds with greater than 99 % accuracy. This work presents the development of a method for ethanol quantitation as well as results from the analysis of both ethanol reference material standards and in-house created ethanol-containing solutions to evaluate the precision and accuracy of the technique. Analysis of ethanolic beverages via DART-MS has been shown to be a rapid and reliable alternative to traditional analysis by HS-GC.
Forensic Chemistry


Alcohol, DART-MS, Ethanol, Quantitation
Created January 17, 2020, Updated February 13, 2020