Determination of α-/β-Thujone and Related Terpenes in Absinthe

~ using Solid Phase Extraction and Gas Chromatography ~

By Joachim Emmert, Günter Sartor, Frank Sporer and Joachim Gummersbach Published in Deutsche Lebensmittel-Rundschau, Vol 9 2004


A solid-phase extraction method (SPE) is proposed as a novel sample preparation method for the simultaneous determination of α-, β-thujone, and anethole in absinthe. It is followed by capillary gas chromatography (GC) with flame ionisation detection (FID) or mass spectrometry (MS) for final quantitation of the terpenes.

Anethole was quantitated with external standard calibration, whereas α-thujone was evaluated by standard addition and finally confirmed by MS. In many samples a terpene with almost identical retention time in GC interfered with α-thujone, which was revealed in MS as linalool (M = 154.2). This compound was also found in extract of wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) and is very likely responsible for formerly reported high values of thujone in absinthe. The use of MS for quantitation or at least for identification of the compounds is therefore highly recommended.


Read more from the same chapter, Thujone and Absinthe : scientific research: