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Evaluation of Gas Chromatography–Combustion–Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (GC-C-IRMS) for the Quality Assessment of Citrus Liqueurs

Schipilliti, Luisa, Bonaccorsi, Ivana, Cotroneo, Antonella, Dugo, Paola, Mondello, Luigi
Journal of agricultural and food chemistry 2013 v.61 no.8 pp. 1661-1670
Citrus, carbon, gas chromatography, isotopes, lemons, liqueurs, maceration, mandarins, mass spectrometry, microextraction, oils, qualitative analysis, syrups
Citrus liqueurs are alcoholic beverages obtained by maceration. The European Parliament protects these alcoholic beverages, forbidding the addition of nature-identical flavoring substances. However, for economical and technological reasons, producers often add natural and/or synthetic flavors to the alcoholic syrup, obtaining artificial spirit drinks. The aim of this study is to investigate the authenticity of Italian liqueurs, of lemon, bergamot, and mandarin (locally known as “limoncello”, “bargamino”, and “mandarinetto”), comparing the carbon isotope ratios with values determined in genuine cold-pressed peel oils. Authenticity assessment was performed using headspace–solid phase microextraction coupled to gas chromatography–combustion–isotope ratio mass spectrometry. Additional analyses were performed by direct enantioselective gas chromatography to determine the enantiomeric distribution of selected chiral volatiles and by gas chromatography–mass spectrometry for the qualitative analyses of the samples. The method allowed confirmation of genuineness. Enantioselective gas chromatography analyses confirmed the results, demonstrating the reliability of the method.