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Absorbance Spectroscopy of Heads, Hearts and Tails Fractions in Fruit Spirits

Published: 21 April 2021
 by  MDPI AG
Beverages , Volume 7; doi:10.3390/beverages7020021

Abstract: There is a large economic interest to characterize heads, hearts and tails fractions during fruit spirit distillation by simple, fast, low-volume and low-cost analytical methods. This study evaluated the potential of ultraviolet (UV)-visible-infrared spectroscopy (230–1000 nm) to characterize and differentiate these distillate fractions. Heads, hearts and tails fractions of 10 different fruit spirits were separated by sensory evaluation and investigated by absorbance spectroscopy. Principal component analysis indicated that UV spectroscopy at a wavelength range from 230 to 310 nm had the highest potential to differentiate all three distillate fractions. While all tails fractions showed significantly different UV spectra, a clear differentiation between heads and hearts fractions was limited. However, an additional UV spectroscopy of 100 mL subfractions sampled during the shift from heads to hearts in three additional distillations did reveal significant differences. The calculated integrals of the according best-fit trendline functions of the spectra indicated a trend towards reduced area-under-the-curve and zero-point values during the shift. This could be a new lead to implement an analytical method for in-line process control during fruit spirit production.
Keywords: quality assurance / process control / distillation / spirit production / absorbance spectroscopy

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