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Automated Aroma Profiling of Wine using Sorptive Extraction with GC×GC–TOF MS/SCD

In this study we demonstrate the implementation of this approach on a multi-functional, cryogen-free platform, for definitive yet affordable aroma profiling of a range of red wines.

This study demonstrates the use of headspace sorptive extraction coupled with GC×GC–TOF MS/SCD to provide comprehensive information on wine aroma and odour taints on a single, fully automated, cryogen-free platform. We also show the added value of Tandem Ionisation® for confident identification of aroma-active species that can be challenging to identify by conventional 70 eV electron ionisation alone.

Aroma profiles, such as those for wine, contain a wide variety of components at a range of concentrations. Detection and identification of key compounds with low odour thresholds and compounds responsible for off-odours is a challenging prospect.

Sampling the headspace of wine using high-capacity sorptive extraction can help to tackle this issue, by increasing sample loadings through use of a larger volume of PDMS stationary phase (65 µL compared to ~0.5 µL for SPME). Used in conjunction with secondary refocusing, this approach offers excellent sensitivity, as well as the ability to re-collect a portion of the sample for repeat analysis in a fully automated workflow using the Centri® platform from Markes International.

Despite these advances, the aroma profiles of wine still present challenges to analysts because of their complexity, with important compounds (such as trace-level sulfur species that cause undesirable odour taints) frequently masked by higher-loading components. Fortunately, comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC×GC) coupled with time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOF MS) can help to tackle this problem, with the enhanced separation capacity of GC×GC complementing the ability of TOF MS to provide confident identification of targets and non-targets.

In this study we demonstrate the implementation of this approach on a multi-functional, cryogen-free platform, for definitive yet affordable aroma profiling of a range of red wines. In particular, we show how flow-modulated GC×GC enables simple configuration of parallel detection by both TOF MS and sulfur chemiluminescence detection (SCD), with the result being comprehensive aroma profiling and selective detection of sulfur odour taints in a single run. A further feature covered is how Tandem Ionisation® can be used to enhance confidence in identification by generating both hard and soft ionisation data simultaneously.

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