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Metrohm is the only company that provides all the relevant ion analysis technologies for the analysis of alcoholic beverages under one roof

This means Metrohm techniques do not compete, but complement each other – for example Ion Chromatography (IC) and Voltammetry (VA) – which uniquely allows Metrohm to solve customer application requirements using the most relevant analytical technique, with no clash of interest.

With the festive season rapidly approaching it is perhaps an appropriate time to consider that Metrohm is able to analyse alcoholic beverages – like beers and vodkas – for anions and cations (alkali and alkaline earth metals) with ion chromatography, and using voltammetry determine transition or heavy metals without the need for additional UV-VIS detectors and post column reagents that render other IC systems much more complicated and costly to run.

Ion Chromatography: Samples of beer and their intermediates can be analysed using any of the Metrohm intelligent IC Systems.

The analysis is preceded by a simple sample preparation step to facilitate the removal of carbon dioxide (on finished product) before dilution with deionised water prior to analysis.

Only a small amount of sample is required and the results are obtained in a matter of minutes.

Water is the primary ingredient within beer and its quality and type is a fundamental factor in establishing the distinctive localised beers that appear in many regions of the United Kingdom: it is carefully monitored.

IC is used to monitor the anion profile and represents an important quality control step to the brewing industry.

The majority of anions found in beer are a consequence of the impurities derived from the water used during the brewing process.

Strict quality control of the impurities is required because the presence of certain anions outside defined tolerances can affect the flavour characteristics of the finished product which in the case of an excess of sulphate gives a sharp, dry edge to hopped beers.

Voltammetry : Samples of vodka can be analysed using the 797 VA Computrace from Metrohm.

No sample preparation step is required for vodka and the analysis requires only the addition of auxiliary solutions.

Only a small quantity of sample is required and the results are obtained in less than 10 minutes.

Certain alcoholic beverages contain large quantities of sugar which pose problems for analysis by traditional spectroscopic techniques; in this instance a simple UV digestion may be required.

The finished product vodka can be analysed using voltammetry to ensure that any trace impurities of metals acquired during the manufacturing process do not exceed the strictly defined specification that otherwise would constitute a health risk or cause a deviation from the distinctively defined taste characteristics associated with a particular consumer brand.

Water as a raw material is crucial in the production of a good quality vodka product making up to 60% of its contents and should be free from any foreign taste.

The intermediates used can be analysed with voltammetry to ensure that impurities such as manganese or iron are not present that could lead to precipitation problems during manufacture of the vodka.

So, Metrohm is able to offer both Ion Chromatography and Voltammetry as analytical techniques capable of quantifying different analytes in alcoholic beverages with no conflict as both systems are supplied by the same vendor.

With Metrohm IC it would also be possible to quantify certain heavy metals using direct conductivity detection – because there is no problematic membrane suppressor that would otherwise quickly become blocked by precipitation of the transition metals – demonstrating some of the flexibility that has become synonymous with Metrohm instruments during the last sixty years.

An IC and VA system in tandem from Metrohm represents a powerful analytical tool to determine the complete suite of analytes, and as you would expect from a renowned Swiss company, the total cost of ownership over the lifetime of the instruments can be up to 80% less than other manufacturers.

For further information on the range of Metrohm Ion Chromatography and Voltammetry Instruments please contact Metrohm UK.

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