Quantification of “smoke taint” compounds in wine by SPME-GCMS

“Smoke taint” refers to the aroma that wine takes on when grapes in a vineyard are exposed to smoke from wildfires during ripening, a frequent occurrence in Australia and the western US which has significantly increased in recent years. Wines afflicted with smoke taint are often described as “campfire” or “ash tray” and are typically not accepted by consumers. Because of this, a fast and accurate screening method for smoke taint is necessary for winemakers who are faced with remediation, blending, or discarding decisions when grapes are being harvested during or after a wildfire. Guaiacol and 4-methylguaiacol are two compounds typically analyzed as markers of smoke taint, as they are most abundant compared to other smoke-derived odorants like 4-ethylguaiacol, 4-ethylphenol, and eugenol. By combining solid phase microextraction (SPME) sampling prior to analysis by triple quadrupole gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS), sensitivity of volatiles increases while matrix effects decrease. In SPME, a sorbent fiber is exposed to the headspace of a sample allowing volatiles to ad/absorb to the fiber, which is then injected into the system where desorption occurs immediately prior to analysis. This technique is ideal for the analysis of ppb-level odorants, such as smoke taint compounds, because of the sensitivity it can achieve while minimizing sample preparation. In this work, a multiple-reaction monitoring (MRM) method with SPME preconcentration was developed for quantification of guaiacol and 4-methylguaiacol in smoke taint-afflicted wines. Method validation was performed on wines containing low-ppb levels of analytes. Sub-ppb detection limits were achieved for both compounds with the use of a deuterated internal standard.

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Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometry (GC-MS)
Smoke Taint, Wine, Food, Beverages, GCMS-TQ8050 NX Triple Quadrupole GC-MS/MS, AOC-6000 Plus Multifunctional Autosampler
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