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T. Contis et al. (Editors)Food Flavors: Formation, Analysis and Packaging Influences© 1998 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved 615
Effect of ethanol strength on the release of higheralcohols and aldehydes in model solutions
H. Escalona-Buendia, J. R. Piggott, J. M. Conner and A. PatersonCentre for Food Quality, University of Strathclyde, Department of Bioscienceand Biotechnology, 204 George Street, Glasgow Gl IXW, Scotland, UK
Headspace concentrations of homologous series of higher alcohols andaldehydes dissolved in aqueous solutions at different ethanol concentrationswere analysed by gas chromatography-flame ionisation detection. For eachvolatile, activity coefficients at all ethanol strengths were estimated andstatistically compared to evaluate the effect of ethanol strength. There was asignificant reduction of the activity coefficients between 10% and 20% v/vethanol for all the volatiles studied. The reduction of the activity coefficientsbetween 10% and 15% v/v was significant only for decanol, dodecanol, octanaland dodecanal. This confirms that there is a change in the efiect of ethanolconcentration on volatile flavour compounds in aqueous solutions at 15-20% v/vethanol.
Higher alcohols, aldehydes and esters are important volatiles for the aromaand flavour of wines and spirits. According to studies carried out in wine modelsolutions (Voilley
et al.
1990, 1991; Lubbers
et al.
1994a, 1994b; Langourieuxand Crouzet 1994) and previous studies of whisky flavour (Conner
et al.
1994a,1994b), the release of volatiles is affected by other components in the solutionand, therefore, the flavour quality of the beverage may also be affected.In model wine solutions the presence of ethanol reduced the activitycoefficients of isoamyl alcohol, octanal and ethyl esters (Lubbers
et al.
1994a).These volatile compounds are more soluble in ethanol than in water and whenthey are in alcoholic aqueous solutions, an increase of ethanol concentration alsoincreases their solubility and, therefore, reduces their release. However, Conner
et al.
(1997) reported a significant reduction of the release of ethyl esters fromalcoholic solutions above 17% v/v ethanol, while at lower strengths the activitycoefficients remained almost constant. This behaviour may be explained bychanges in the structure of ethanol-water solutions which are modified by the
616proportions of the mixture. According to D'Angelo
et al.
(1994), above about 20%v/v ethanol concentration there are non-polar interactions between thehydrocarbon chains of the alcohol molecules, forming agglomerates or"pseudomicelles", and interaction with other non-polar molecules in the system ispossible.In order to evaluate the effect of ethanol strength on the release of higheralcohols and aldehydes, the activity coeflScients of homologous series of bothgroups of volatiles (C6, C8, CIO and C12) were measured in aqueous solutions atdifferent ethanol strengths (10%, 15% and 20% v/v). As the activity coefficient isestimated as the slope of a linear relation between the activity and theconcentration of the solute, effects on release were evaluated by a statisticalcomparison between the slopes.
Model solutions
Absolute ethanol was used to prepare model solutions at 10%, 15% and 20%v/v. Water was distilled and filtered using a Millipore-Q system. For eachvolatile, stock solutions at 10 mg mL'^ were prepared in absolute ethanol. Thevolatiles studied were
1-hexanol, 1-octanol, 1-decanol, 1-dodecanol
and theanalogous series of aldehydes, all of them at least 95% pure. For each ethanolconcentration, series of solutions from 1 mg L'^ to 12 mg L^ for every volatile (atleast 6 different concentrations) were prepared adding different aliquots from thestock to the model solution.
2.2 Activity coefficients determinations
The activities of higher alcohols and aldehydes were obtained bychromatographic determinations of headspace concentrations (Grant andHiguchi 1990; Conner
et al.
1997) and activity coefficients calculated asdescribed by Conner
et al.
(1994a). Glass vials (20 mL), fitted with PTFE finedsilicone septa in plastic screw caps, were filled with 10 mL aliquots of standardethanolic solutions of the volatile. After equilibration in a 25 °C water bath forat least 30 min, a 2.5 mL sample of headspace was withdrawn using a 5 mL gastight syringe, preheated to 50 °C. Only one headspace c-;- column injection wasmade per vial and samples were analysed in duplicate on a Carlo Erba™ MegaSeries gas chromatograph using a flame ionisation detector. Peak areas werecalculated using Chromperfect™ integration software. Cold, on-column injectionused a 0.55 mm x 0.5 m ultimetal retention gap with an external gas tightseptum. For hexanal, a 0.53 mm x 12 m BPl column (df = 1) was used withhelium carrier gas at 20 kPa, holding the column at 30 °C for 1 min andincreasing to 50 °C at 18 °C min"\ For all the other volatiles, a 0.53 mm x 12 mBP20 column (df = 1) was used with helium carrier gas at 30 kPa, holding thecolumn at 60 °C for 1 min and increasing to 240 °C at 18 °C min"\ Thetemperature of the detector was 250 °C.
Figure 1 shows the behaviour of octanol in aqueous solution at 10%, 15% and
v/v of ethanol; this was the typical behaviour of all the alcohols andaldehydes studied. A linear relation between the activities and the mole fractionof the volatile in the ethanolic solution is observed, and a gradual reduction ofthe slope of the curves, which is the numerical estimation of the activitycoefficient, as the ethanol concentration increased.O.OOE+00 5.00E-07 l.OOE-06
Octanol (mole fraction)
2.00E-06Figure 1. Activities of increasing concentrations of octanol in 10%, 15% and 20%v/v ethanol aqueous solutions calculated from headspace concentration at 25 °C.Table 1 shows the activity coefficients obtained for each volatile at every ethanolconcentration. Statistical comparison of the slopes was carried out by calculationof the 95% confidence interval (Mead and Curnow 1983), considering a differenceto be significant when there was not overlapping of the intervals. For all thevolatiles, activity coefficients were significantly reduced between 10% and 20%v/v ethanol. This behaviour was expected according to the results reported byConner
et al.
(1997) for ethyl esters, and agreed with the concentration rangereported by D'Angelo
et al.
(1994) required to start deagglomeration of thealcohol molecules in ethanol-water solutions. A continuing effect would beexpected at higher ethanol concentrations which are more favourable conditionsfor the formation of agglomerates. For the higher alcohols, the higher thenumber of carbons the higher is the activity coefficient. Figure 2 shows thesemilogarithmic relation between the activity coefficient and the number ofcarbons in the alcohol. For all the alcohols there was a gradual reduction of the

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