Non-Invasive Monitoring of Ethanol and Methanol Levels in Grape-Derived Pisco Distillate by Vibrational Spectroscopy
Aykas, Didem P.
Toledo-Herrera, Victor Hugo
Rodriguez-Saona, Luis E.
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Handheld Raman and portable FT-IR spectroscopy devices were evaluated for fast and non-invasive determination of methanol and ethanol levels in Peruvian Pisco. Commercial Peruvian Pisco (n = 171) samples were kindly provided by the UNALM Alliance for Research in Alcohol and its Derivatives (Lima, Peru) and supplemented by purchases at grocery and online stores. Pisco spectra were collected on handheld Raman spectrometers equipped with either a 1064 nm or a 785 nm excitation laser and a portable infrared unit operating in transmission mode. The alcohol levels were determined by GC-MS. Calibration models used partial least-squares regression (PLSR) to develop prediction algorithms. GC-MS data revealed that 10% of Pisco samples had ethanol levels lower than 38%, indicating possible water dilution. Methanol levels ranged from 10 to 130 mg/100 mL, well below the maximum levels allowed for fruit brandies. Handheld Raman equipped with a 1064 nm excitation laser gave the best results for determining ethanol (SEP = 1.2%; RPre = 0.95) and methanol (SEP = 1.8 mg/100 mL; RPre = 0.93). Randomly selected Pisco samples were spiked with methanol (75 to 2800 mg/100 mL), and their Raman spectra were collected through their genuine commercial bottles. The prediction models gave an excellent performance (SEP = 98 mg/100 mL; RPre = 0.97), allowing for the non-destructive and non-contact determination of methanol and ethanol concentrations without opening the bottles.