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Hard seltzer analysis using high-capacity sorptive extraction with GC

New high-capacity phase combinations for HiSorb probes have been evaluated to enable selection of the most suitable phase type for flavour profiling hard seltzers, popular new alcoholic drinks. Three phases for HiSorb were tested and compared to the traditional single-phase polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) HiSorb probe: divinylbenzene (DVB)/PDMS, carbon wide range (CWR)/PDMS and the triple phase combination of DVB/CWR/PDMS. Volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds (VOCs and SVOCs) over a wide volatility range were extracted and further in-depth analyses revealed differences in extraction between the phase combinations. Also, some components that contribute to the overall flavour were missed with PDMS alone and were only extracted when a multi-phase probe was used.

Introduction

In 2019, hard seltzers – carbonated, low calorie alcoholic drinks – grew in popularity in the US beverage market. Over a year, US sales had increased by 193% and were reported to have reached $4 billion in 2020.1 Many beer manufacturers across the globe now produce hard seltzer ranges and are competing to be ahead of the trend. In the UK, for example, sales are expected to reach £75 million by 2023.2 This means that companies that produce hard seltzers need to ensure the quality of their products is maintained to stay ahead in the market and protect brand reputation. Understanding the diverse range of chemical compounds that contribute towards the flavour of their products is key and many companies employ analysts to extract and analyse these compounds using techniques such as sorptive extraction.

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