HPLC determination of alpha – and beta -thujone

~ potentially toxic components of natural flavourings, in alcoholic beverages - ABSTRACT ONLY ~

by G. Micali, F. Lanuzza Published in Flavour and Fragrance Journal, 1995

An analytical method for the determination of alpha – plus beta -thujone in commercial alcoholic beverages is described. The thujones are potentially toxic compounds present in natural flavourings. The maximum content of the thujones in foodstuffs and beverages is established by laws in several countries. The determination of thujones was carried out by HPLC using an HS-RP 18 (3 mu m) (8.3 cm x 0.42 cm i.d.) column, and acetonitrile-water (55:45) as mobile phase, flow rate 2 ml/min at 30 degree C. The fluorescent properties of alpha – and beta -thujone have been used for the detection at lambda sub(ex) 220nm and lambda sub(em) 290 nm. The selectivity of the fluorimetric detection allows the preparation of the analytical sample simply by diluting appropriately the alcoholic beverages in methanol. The method is precise and accurate and allows the determination of alpha – plus beta -thujone, without interference, at concentrations down to 0.5 mg/kg. However, even if the fluorimetric detection provides good selectivity, when the concentrations of the thujones in a product exceed the permitted limits, the results should be confirmed by other methods, e.g. LC-MS or GC-MS.

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