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Associate Professor
Department of Chemistry
St. Johns College, Agra

M Sc Final
Physical Chemistry


This is to certify that this project entitled ANALYSIS OF ALCOHOLIC

(FAAS) submitted to St. Johns College, Agra, for the fulfillment of the
requirement for the Master degree is a bona fide project work carried
out by SAURAV K. RAWAT student of M Sc Final (PHYSICAL
CHEMISTRY) under my supervision and guidance during the session
2013-2014. The assistance and help rendered during the course of
investigation and sources of literature have been acknowledged.

Dr. Susan Verghese .P

Dr. Hemant Kulshreshtha

Associate Professor
Department of Chemistry
St. Johns College, Agra

Department of Chemistry
St. Johns College, Agra

It is my proud privilege to express my profound sense of gratitude and
sincere indebtedness to honorable Dr Alexander Lal, Principal of St. Johns
College, Agra, for providing infrastructure for the completion of this project. I
am thankful to Dr Hemant Kulshreshtha, Head of the Chemistry Department;
he was always affectionate, pain taking and source of inspiration to me. I am
highly obliged to him for their guidance, constructive criticism and valuable
advice which they provided to me throughout the tenure of my project. The
project work could not have been possible without his worthy suggestions
and constant co-operation.
I am also thankful to my supervisor Dr Susan Verghese to guide me on the
various sides of this project and her help and guidance she provided to me
for the initiation of this project. My heart is filled with deep sense of
thankfulness and obeisance to my teachers Dr. R P Singh, Dr. H B Singh, Dr. P
E Joseph, Dr. Raju V John, Dr. Shalini Nelson, Dr. Mohd. Anis, Dr. Anita Anand,
Dr. Padma Hazra, and Dr. David Massey for their valuable suggestions and
lively moral boosting during the progress of this investigation.
I am also thankful to Ms. Nisha Siddhardhan (Instrumentation in-charge) for
their kind support during the project work. I also place my sincere thanks to
non-teaching staff for their support and co-operation.
I am highly grateful to my parents for their affectionate and moral support.
They have always been source of inspiration for me.
Above all, I thank The Almighty for giving me strength to complete this
Last but not the least I extend my sincere thanks to all those who have
helped me in one or the other way during my project work.

Saurav K. Rawat
M Sc Final (Physical Chemistry)

RDA = Recommended Dietary Allowance
AI = Adequate Intake
UL = Upper Limit
DDI = Daily Dietary Intake
DRI = Dietary Reference Intakes
MAL = Maximum Acceptable Limit
SAM = Standard Addition Method
AA = Atomic Absorption
FAAS = Flame Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy
HCL = Hollow Cathode Lamp
MIBK = Methyl isobutyl ketone
APDC = Ammonium pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate
ND = Non Detectable
PMT = Photomultiplier tubes
LPG = Liquefied petroleum gas
ppm = Parts per million
Cu = copper
Cr = chromium
Pb = Lead
Ni = Nickel
Na = Sodium
Fe = Iron
Ca = Calcium
UL = The maximum level of daily nutrient intake that is likely to pose no risk
of adverse effects. Unless otherwise specified, the UL represents total intake
from food, water, and supplements.
ND = Non detectable.


1. Introduction
2. Review of Literature
3. Sources of metals in alcoholic beverages
3.1. Raw materials
3.2. Substances added during brewing
3.3. Process type
3.4. Process equipment
3.5. Bottling process
3.6. Aging/storage
3.7. Adulteration
4. Effects of metals present in alcoholic beverages
4.1. Effects on the beverages
4.1.1. Positive aspects
4.1.2. Negative aspects
4.2. Effects on humans
5. Metal concentrations and limits
6. Metal removal
7. Speciation
8. Determination of metals in alcoholic beverages
9. Results and Discussion
10. Conclusion


1. Introduction
The concentration of metals in many alcoholic beverages can be a
significant parameter affecting their consumption and conservation. This
derives from the negative and positive effects caused directly or indirectly by
the presence of metals. Negative effects include beverage spoilage and
hazing, as well as sensorial and health consequences.
Positive effects include the removal of bad odors and tastes, participation in
fermentative processes, provision of pathways for dietary intake of some
essential minerals, and usefulness for authentication purposes.
Because of all this, many metals are carefully monitored and regulated,
which has resulted in the development of a plethora of analytical techniques
for their analysis. Metals in alcoholic beverages are often determined by
atomic absorption or emission techniques; however, the high cost of the
instruments involved and the long sample-preparation times required often
preclude their widespread use. Electrochemical methods are an option for
such analyses.
In the manufacturing process employed for most alcoholic beverages we
distinguish between fermentation and distillation. In the second process, the
distillate is sometimes obtained directly from a previously fermented
product, which carries over the volatile compounds (water, alcohols,
aromatic substances like acids, aldehydes, ketones, esters, etc.) and modifies
the composition previously existing in the raw product. Due to the low
volatility of the seven elements considered in this project (Fe, Cu, Ni, Cr, Pb,
Ca, Na), their levels in the resulting distilled alcoholic beverages have to be
lower. In the distillation process copper still is usually employed because
copper is very malleable, a good heat conductor, and resistant to corrosion,
as well as playing a role as catalyser in certain chemical reactions and of
complexing molecules unpleasant from the organoleptical point of view.
Consequently, an increase in the Cu levels of the resulting distilled brandy
would be expected.
Additionally, it is known that in the ageing of brandies obtained via
distillation, the activation of chemical reactions that require oxygen are
probably enhanced by the existence of ions of heavy metals like Cu.
Several techniques have been employed for the determination of minerals in
wines and beverages:

inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) using a doublefocusing sector fields; AAS with flame or electro thermal atomization; or
electro analytical methods such as differential pulse anodic stripping
voltammetry (DPASV).
In the available food composition and nutrition tables, the levels of the
essential minerals studied, especially those for the trace elements Cu and Ni
are not usually collected.
Therefore, the aim of this project was to review the various sources and
concentrations of metals (e.g., Ca, Cr, Cu, Fe, Pb, Ni and Na) in 6 alcoholic
beverages (Whisky, Vodka, Rum, Brandy, Spirit and Deshi liquors), most
commonly consumed in India and over the world their effects, speciation,
removal methods and detection by FAAS technique and flame photometer.

2. Review of Literature
Akrida-Demertzi, K., Koutinas, A.A., 1992 estimated the effect of copper,
potassium, sodium and calcium on alcoholic fermentation of raisin extract and
sucrose solution.
Almeida Neves, et al 2007. Studied about the elimination of copper(II) in
sugar-cane spirits.
Bakalov, N., Angelov, V., Gidov, G., Angelov, B., Bolgurov, S., 1989.
Worked on the technology for the removal of metals from fresh wine distillate
and brandy.
Dugo and Salvo, et al, 2004. Determined the concentration of Ni(II) in
Cyro, T.N., 1976. Determined the level of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper,
and zinc levels in distilled, fermented beverages-using atomic absorption
Mekhuzla, N.A., Panasyuk, A.L., Temkina, V.Y., 1978. Used the trisodium
salt of nitrilotrimethylphosphonic acid for the demetallization of brandies.
Mena, et al, 1997. Determined the level of lead contamination in wines and
other alcoholic beverages by atomic absorption spectrometry..
Pohl, et al. 2007. Studied the Fractionation analysis of metals in dietary
samples using ionexchange and adsorbing resins.
Reilly, C., 1972. Zinc, iron, and copper contamination in home-produced
alcoholic drinks.
Reilly, C., 1973. Heavy metal contamination in home-produced beers and

Servadio,et al studied the stabilization of vodka.1975

Shukla, J., Pitre, K.S., 1998 studied Simultaneous trace metal analysis in wine

3. Sources of metals in alcoholic beverages

Metals find their way into alcoholic beverages at different stages and through
various sources including raw materials, brewing, process type and equipment,
bottling, aging/storage, and adulteration as discussed below.

3.1. Raw materials

Several metal ions can be taken up from the surrounding soil by plants from
which an alcoholic beverage is prepared. For instance, the type of soil (i.e., its
geogenicity), its agrochemical treatments (e.g., the use of pesticides and
fungicides), and the surrounding environmental pollution have implications in
the mineral content of many beverages. In this way, wines from vineyards in
coastal areas are richer in Na. Pesticides, fungicides, and fertilizers containing
Cd, Cu, Mn, Pb, and Zn compounds can derive in increased contents of these
metals in the alcoholic beverage. Most of the Mg found in beer can be
introduced with the malt. Cu in beer comes mainly from raw materials; on the
contrary, only a small percentage of the final Cu content in whiskey comes from
the barely from which the spirit is distilled.

3.2. Substances added during brewing

Hops, acids, bases, silica gel, dilution water, flavoring agents, additives, and
stabilizers are potential sources of metal ions in the brewing process. For
example, the main source of Cu in wine is the CuSO4 added to remove sulfidic
odors. The acidity of the liquor to be distilled may be important in this regard
(e.g., in whiskies), since more acidic beverages tend to contain more Cu.
Addition of fining and clarifying substances (e.g., flocculants) to reduce turbidity
can bring about an increase in Na, Ca or Al in wine.

3.3. Process type

Major differences in metal content (i.e., Ni) have been found among alcoholic
beverages depending on their processing. In this way, certain fermented
beverages (e.g., wine and beer) contain several times more Ni than distilled
beverages (e.g., brandy, whiskey, and vodka).

3.4. Process equipment

This is frequently a key source of metal ions in the final products. Several
examples follow.
The concentration of Cu coming from process equipment in vodka is twice as
much that coming from the raw materials.
The main source of Cu in whiskey is the copper still used for its distillation.
Corrosion of tequila-distillation equipment (made of Cu) provokes the presence
of this metal in the final product.
Storage of vodka in metal containers (e.g., low-quality steel or Cu alloys) results
in their corrosion with the concomitant introduction of metals into the liquor.
The Zn, Fe, and Cu contained in home-produced alcoholic drinks can be
essentially unrelated to the material fermented as it primarily depends on the
vessel materials.
The temperature in the distillate and the degree of still utilization affect the Cu
content in whiskey.
The Fe-content in pulps and musts increases due to the Fe in concrete tanks
used for the storage of raw materials.
Contact of wine with process equipment, pipes, casks, and barrels is the usual
source of Al, Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, and Zn.
The main sources of heavy metals in the production of an anistype beverage are
the bronze pot stills.
Lead plumbing can add Pb to beverages.

3.5. Bottling process

Bottling water and equipment may also introduce metals in beverages. For
example, the content of Ca, Mg, and Na in brandies depends on the quality of
water used for dilution after distillation. The modification of certain imported
alcoholic beverages for the purpose of bottling and sale by the addition of
distilled or otherwise purified water to adjust the beverage to a required strength
is sometimes allowed (DJC, 2005). It is noteworthy that when metallic capsules
seal alcoholic beverage bottles, some Pb may be carried over (Mena et al., 1997).


3.6. Aging/storage
Possible effects caused by metals during these stages are multiple. For example,
Fe(III) and Mn(II) affect the stability of old wines and modify their sensorial quality
after bottling since they are believed to activate molecular oxygen by forming
reactive oxygen species (e.g., hydroxyl radicals); this is possible due to their
electronic configurations involving unpaired electrons that may interact quantum
mechanically with the dioxygen triplet. Likewise, Fe catalyses the oxidation of
polyphenolic substances and Mn facilitates acetaldehyde formation; the products
of these reactions yield undesirable precipitates. Metal complex formation is also
common at this aging/storage state, which may alter a significant number of
beverage parameters. Customeraccessible containers for alcoholic beverages
include metal cans, glass bottles, plastic containers, and paperboard cartons, and
the containers themselves sometimes are a source of metal ions in the beverage.
For example, Cu and Zn can be introduced into beer by welded cans (Mayer et al.,
2003). In fact, the Zn concentration in a specific brand of bottled beer was
measured at 0.33 ppm, whereas in canned beer it reached 0.87ppm (Weiner and
Taylor, 1969). On the contrary, the Ni content in canned beer as compared with
glass-bottled beer is not higher (Dugo et al., 2004).

3.7. Adulteration
This term comes from the Latin word adulterare (i.e., to defile or falsify), and
means to make something impure by the addition of extraneous, inferior, or
improper ingredients. As far back as 1875, legislation has prohibited the
adulteration of drinks (MacRae and Alden, 2002). Unfortunately, Pb and other
metallic impurities can enter beverages during adulteration practices (Ijeri and
Srivastava, 2001). For example, adulterated vodka has been found to contain an
excess of Ca and Mn ions (Servadio et al., 1975).


4. Effects of Metals Present in Alcoholic Beverages

These effects can be classified according to the final subject they act upon.

4.1. Effects on the beverages

These include negative or positive aspects as described below.

4.1.1. Positive aspects

Contrary to the above, some metals enhance the flavor of wine (Esparza et al.,
2005). One plausible indirect pathway for this effect involves the binding of sulfur
derivatives to reduce the sulfury flavor (e.g., Cu in whiskey, sugar cane spirits, and
cognac), as confirmed by thermal desorption gas chromatography (Reaich, 1998;
Richter et al., 2001). Cu is also involved in the reduction and formation of
congeners throughout the distillation of whiskey. A higher concentration of Ca 2+
ions results in their uptake by Saccharomyces cerevisiae cells, which reduces cell
growth. Yeasts consume Ca, Cu, Fe, K, Mg and Zn and therefore their
concentrations tend to decrease (Pohl, 2007b); a substantial cofactor role occurs in
some cases.
Another useful aspect of the presence of specific metals in alcoholic beverages
involves their use in quality analysis and in authentication (fingerprinting) due to
their typical stabilities. Chemometrics and pattern recognition methods are used
for the distinction of beverages according to their origin, quality, variety, type, and
other features.
For example, the Cu concentration in a malt Scotch whiskey is 1.53.5 times
greater than that in a blended (grain) Scotch whiskey. Another case in point is the
metal content in zivania (a Cypriot traditional drink), which allows its
differentiation from spirits produced in other countries. Likewise, the analysis of
Na and Mg is often sufficient to discriminate among different wines; even the
analysis of Mg alone may serve such a purpose (Kokkinofta et al., 2003). In the
same manner, the metal profile of brandies depends on their elaboration process;
accordingly, the content of metals is sometimes used as a chemical descriptor for
classifying different kinds of brandies. Statistical techniques are most helpful here,
since classification procedures based on artificial neural networks lead to a
predictive ability up to 90%.


4.1.2. Negative aspects

Minerals may generate irreversible turbidities in liquors; the formation of
sediments is a long lasting process that may depend on the contents of all metals
and substances present, the redox potential, pH, and temperature.
Thus, the establishment of absolute limiting values for metal contents is rather
difficult. Turbidity typically increases with metal concentrations. For example,
maximum turbidity in soplica liquor was observed with the addition of Ca after
more than 2 months of storage, whereas a smaller Ca addition (i.e., 20mg Ca/L)
barely changes a Winiak liquors clarity; Fe can likewise contribute to turbidity.
Some metal ions promote the development of turbid colloids during cognac
storage (Russu et al., 1985).
Small amounts of Cu (ca. 3mg Cu/L) cause maximum turbidity after 5 months of
storage of some beverages (Trawinska, 1977); it can also be a factor in the
formation of hazes (called copper casse) in wine and in beer (Mayer et al., 2003;
Green et al., 1997).
Cu also contributes to the oxidation of beer and imparts a coppery, unpleasant
metallic taste (Mayer et al., 2003); here, even small amounts of this metal (e.g.,
0.15mg Cu/L) can cause gushing (Mayer et al., 2003). Radical formation in sugar
cane spirits depends mainly on the Cu content, as detected by electron spin
resonance (Bettin et al., 2002). Color changes in some alcoholic beverages (e.g.,
wine) can be attributed to different factors (Esparza et al., 2005): (a) complex
formation of Fe, Cu, Al or Mg with anthocyanins and tannins, (b) the presence of
metalpolyphenol complexes, (c) hyperchromic of batochromic effects originating
from copigmentation processes, and (d) an exogenous contribution of selected
metal cations that might result in favorable color modification.
Examples of additional color changes include the followingCu can increase the rate of oxidative spoilage of wine, which ultimately results in
its browning (Pohl, 2007b). There is a relationship between the color of a brandy
and its Fe and Cu contents (Varju, 1972); if the concentration of metals in brandy
reaches a critical limit, they promote precipitation (Varju, 1972). Although a
significant correlation is not found between the content of metals (e.g., Fe, Cu, and
Zn) and the color development in sake (a traditional Japanese drink) during the
first 2 years of storage, more extensive darkening is observed after 3 years (Kondo,
1966). Another effect involves the influencing of key organoleptic properties by
high concentrations of certain metals. A case in point is the negative influence of
Zn in wines (Salvo et al., 2003).


4.2. Effects on humans

Metal ion effects on humans can be quite varied, and their detailed coverage falls
beyond the scope of the present review; key information can be found in
toxicology treatises. To exemplify this issue, among the best known effects are
those of the toxic Pb (II) and Cd (II) ions. In fact, Benjamin Franklin in the
eighteenth century noticed that certain homemade rum was causing human
paralysis; he successfully traced the problem to Pb-containing equipment (UMA,
2005). Chromiumspecifically Cr (VI)can also be toxic; fortunately, dangerous
concentrations are not common in alcoholic beverages. For instance, in a wide
sampling of beverages (including wine, beer, cider, brandy, rum, whiskey, gin,
vodka, anisette, and liquors) its concentration was found to be below 0.025 mg/L
(Lendinez et al., 1998).
On the contrary, the presence of certain metal ions in alcoholic beverages is
beneficial in that it may provide an intake path for necessary nutrients in
consumers (Mayer et al., 2003). For example, moderate wine consumption
provides important amounts of nutritional requirements of several essential
metals like Ca, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, K, Mg, Mn, Mo, Ni, and Zn (Pohl, 2007b). The effects
and the functions of the metal determined during this project are given belowAccording to DRI the DDI and UL of the same metals are listed in table 1-5.

Impacts of Studied Metals in Biological System

Copper- copper is an essential constituent of many metallo-proteins and enzymes,
involved in electron transfer, oxygenation and oxidation processes. Hence,
deficiency of copper causes deactivation of these processes, leading to anaemia
(ceruloplasmin deficiency), and loss of hair pigment (Tyrosine deficiency).
Deficiency of Cu(II) containing enzyme, cytochrome C oxidase, causes reduced
arterial elasticity and stunted growth in adults and Menekes disease in children,
resulting in kinky hair, retarded growth, and respiratory problem, severely limiting
life span.
If synthesis of ceruloplasmin is hindered, the mechanism of the control of
copper level in the biological system is damaged. This leads to accumulation of
copper in liver, kidney and brain. Thus the central nervous system (CNS) is
damaged, leading to tremors, rigidity and abnormality of the brain. Accumulation
of copper in liver leads to Cirrhosis and ultimate death. This physical abnormality is
called Wilsons disease.


External intake of small excess of copper causes gastro intestinal irritation

and vomiting. Serious toxic effect is observed, if more than one gram of copper is
taken at one time or there is continuous intake of 250 mg per day, for a period of
time. The toxic effect occurs because of strong affinity of Cu(II) for the SH group
of the different enzyme proteins. The enzyme get deactivated, due to copper
binding, and thus specific biochemical activity are inhibited, leading to physical
disorders. (TABLE-I)
Chromium- It is involved in the metabolism of glucose in the mammals. Cr (III) and
insulin both maintain the correct level of glucose in the blood. People can be
exposed to chromium through breathing, eating or drinking and through skin
contact with chromium or chromium compounds. The level of chromium in air and
water is generally low. In drinking water the level of chromium is usually low as
well, but contaminated well water may contain the dangerous chromium(IV);
hexavalent chromium. For most people eating food that contains chromium(III) is
the main route of chromium uptake, as chromium(III) occurs naturally in many
vegetables, fruits, meats, yeasts and grains. Various ways of food preparation and
storage may alter the chromium contents of food. When food in stores in steel
tanks or cans chromium concentrations may rise.
Chromium(III) is an essential nutrient for humans and shortages may cause heart
conditions, disruptions of metabolisms and diabetes. But the uptake of too much
chromium(III) can cause health effects as well, for instance skin rashes.
Chromium(VI) is a danger to human health, mainly for people who work in the
steel and textile industry. People who smoke tobacco also have a higher chance of
exposure to chromium.
Chromium(VI) is known to cause various health effects. When it is a compound in
leather products, it can cause allergic reactions, such as skin rash. After breathing
it in chromium(VI) can cause nose irritations and nosebleeds.
Other health problems that are caused by chromium(VI) are:
- Skin rashes
- Upset stomachs and ulcers
- Respiratory problems
- Weakened immune systems
- Kidney and liver damage
- Alteration of genetic material
- Lung cancer
- Death

The health hazards associated with exposure to chromium are dependent on its
oxidation state. The metal form (chromium as it exists in this product) is of low
toxicity. The hexavalent form is toxic. Adverse effects of the hexavalent form on
the skin may include ulcerations, dermatitis, and allergic skin reactions. Inhalation
of hexavalent chromium compounds can result in ulceration and perforation of the
mucous membranes of the nasal septum, irritation of the pharynx and larynx,
asthmatic bronchitis, bronchospasms and edema. Respiratory symptoms may
include coughing and wheezing, shortness of breath, and nasal itch.
Carcinogenicity- Chromium and most trivalent chromium compounds have been
listed by the National Toxicology Program (NTP) and International Agency for
Research on Cancer (IARC) as having inadequate evidence for carcinogenicity in
experimental animals. According to NTP, there is sufficient evidence for
carcinogenicity in experimental animals for the following hexavalent chromium
compounds; calcium chromate, chromium trioxide, lead chromate, strontium
chromate,and zinc chromate. (TABLE-2)
Iron- Hemoglobin is the oxygen carrying iron protein in mammalian blood.
Chromatin material of nucleus having iron is an essential part in metabolic
oxidations occurring in nucleus. Though essential, excess iron intake can cause
acidity, vomiting and coma conditions. Excess metal gets deposited in different
parts of the body, like liver, kidney and brain and can lead to their failure.
Sodium- People who regularly eat foods high in sodium risk having diseases such
as hypertension, Type II diabetes mellitus, respiratory complications, Dislipidemia,
Gallbladder disease, osteoarthritis and some cancers (endometrial, breast, colon).
Most of the daily sodium intake comes from salt.
The DRI Upper Limit (UL) for Sodium in adults is 2300 mg/day.
Calcium- The level of calcium in the body is usually controlled by vitamin D and
parathyroid hormones. But, if there is a metabolic imbalance of calcium regulation,
it gets deposited in the tissues, leading to their calciferation. Formation of stones
cataract are due to calcium salt deposition. (TABLE-4)
Nickel- it is an essential trace element for several hydrogenases and ureases
enzymes. Its deficiency in food slows down the functioning of the liver in chicks.
It is highly toxic to plants and moderately toxic to mammals. It is carcinogenic if
present in higher concentrations in biological systems.

It causes skin and respiratory disorders. It can produce bronchial cancer. It

deactivates cytochrome C oxidase and also the enzymes, assisting
dehydrogenation process, and thus inhibits biochemical processes. (TABLE-5)
Lead- It has no known biological function. It is highly toxic to plants and is a
cumulative poison for mammals. It inhibits the synthesis of hemoglobin in
mammals and is highly toxic for central nervous system. Lead tertraethyl used in
gasoline as an antiknock and lead pigments are serious health hazard.
Lead gets deposited in the softer tissues. From there, the reversibly fixed lead
passes to the blood stream. Like transition metals, lead has strong affinity for the
SH group of the enzymes and hence it gets bound to the enzymes strongly and
deactivates them. In the blood stream, lead is known to inhibit the activity of
several enzymes, involved in the synthesis of heme.
Excess lead lowers the formation of delta amino levulinic acid, its conversion to
porpho-bilinogen and also the conversion of protoporphyniogen to protoporphyrin
IX. Thus the biosynthesis of heme is inhibited, leading to anemia.
Lead also affects the biosynthesis of bones, because, divalent lead replaces
calcium in bone. Deposition of lead in brain results in its reduced activity, leading
to depression, nervousness and lack of concentration. Excess lead leads to damage
of kidney, liver and intestinal track, with consequent loss of appetite, muscle and
joint pain, weakness and tremors. Excess lead also causes dental carries and
abnormalities in female reproductive system. (TABLE-6)

5. Metal concentrations and limits

The concentrations of metals in alcoholic beverages can vary widely, metals are
sometimes present in alcoholic beverages at rather high concentrations. In fact,
extreme metal ion concentrations in home-produced beer and spirits from
different parts of Africa, India, Europe, and Canada revealed concentrations of up
to 58, 68, and 245 mg/L of Cu, Zn, and Fe, respectively (Reilly, 1973). Homemade
but commercially availablealcoholic beverages in Tanzania can have up to twice
the World Health Organization recommended maximum for Zn in drinking water
(i.e., 5 mg/L), and one brewed beverage was found to contain toxic amounts of Mn
(12.8 mg/L) (Nikander et al., 1991). These instances dramatically demonstrate that
the establishment of limits is indispensable. Table IX shows examples of metal
concentration limits established by various regulatory agencies for selected


Note that limits imposed for alcoholic beverages are higher than those established
for water utilized in human consumption. This reflects the lower intake of the
former (Green et al., 1997). For example, alcoholic drinks usually contribute only
marginally to typical dietary Cu intakes (0.05 mg/day) (Sadhra et al., 2007).
Regrettably, marked absences in legislation do exist (Baldo and Daniele, 2005).
Metal ion concentrations in wastewaters of breweries and alcoholic beverage
factories are typically below the limits established for the introduction of such
concentrations into municipal treatment systems. Metals that are sometimes
present in concentrations near the upper regulation limits include Hg and Cu
(Koller and Sahlmann, 1987).

6. Metal removal
Methods for metal removal from alcoholic beverages can be exemplified by the
following cases:
An alternative metal removal scheme consists in raising the pH (e.g., in wine
and brandy) with NaHCO3 or CaCO3 to ca. 4.55, then adding tannins or tannic
acids and allowing the mixed substances to react for several days. Finally, gelatin
and bentonite are added to react with the metal tannates and the mixture is
stirred, decanted, and filtered. Large reduction factors in Cu, Fe, and Zn
concentrations are thus obtained.
Ion exchange resins decrease the metal content of certain distillates to the
allowable limits (Hodejeu et al., 1972). (As a case in point, we have obtained up to
99.6% removal of Cu from tequila.)
MgCO3 and CaCO3 can act as cationic exchangers to remove Cu(II) from sugar
cane spirits.
Cu is removed from spirituous beverages by precipitation with rubeanic acid.
Some metal ions (e.g., Cu and Fe) are removed from alcoholic beverages by
adding polymers that contain metal-binding groups (Detering et al., 1991; Kern,
Certain chelating agents (e.g., the trisodium salt of nitrilo trismethylenephosphonic acid) in wine and cognac can precipitate Fe, Al, and Cu
within 1 week (Romantseva et al., 1982). The same compound can be used in
brandy to precipitate Fe and Al (Cu does not precipitate here) (Mekhuzla et al.,


Potassium hexacyanoferrate (II) binds some metals and sulfides present in

alcoholic beverages, although it cannot be used in applications where the Cu
content exceeds that of Fe; besides, it may release poisonous HCN.

7. Speciation
The chemical form in which an element, ion or compound is found in a given
medium depends on the physicochemical conditions of the system. Thus, the
distribution of species in an aqueous medium (e.g., an alcoholic beverage) is
contingent on pH, composition, temperature, and the oxidation-reduction
potential of the solution. These variables define precipitation, dissolution, redox,
and complexation reactions. Biological phenomena (e.g., bioaccumulation)
frequently depend on the chemical form or speciation of a metallic ion.
The redox environment can determine some properties of metallic and nonmetallic species. For example, when arsenic is present in oxidizing environments as
As(V), its toxicity is very low; however, its reduced form, As(III) is highly poisonous.
The opposite occurs with Cr(VI), which is much more toxic than its reduced
counterpart, Cr(III). Solubility can also be severely affected by the redox
environment. Examples of this are Fe(II) and Mn(II) species, typically soluble in
aqueous solutions deficient in dioxygen, whose oxidized forms precipitate quite
easily. Similarly, ligand speciation may drastically affect the nature and
physicochemical properties of the metallic complexes they form. Bioavailability
and toxicity of metal ions in aqueous systems are often proportional to the
concentration of the free metal ion and thus decrease upon complexation.
However, some metal compounds are more dangerous than the metallic element
itself (e.g., methyl mercury vs. mercury). Because of the aforementioned reasons,
determination of the total concentration of a metal in a given matrix often does
not adequately or effectively characterize it; as a result, speciation has gained
considerable ground.
Speciation is the process that yields evidence of the atomic or molecular form of
an analyte. It can be defined either functionally (e.g., the determination of species
that have certain specific functions), or operationally (e.g., the determination of
the extractable forms of an element from a given matrix) (Ibanez et al., 2007).
Examples of the importance of speciation in alcoholic beverages include the


Metals can be either in a state bound to the wine matrix, or unbound in

solution. Some analytical methods (e.g., anodic stripping voltammetry, ASV) may
not detect the total amount of the metal in the sample, but merely identify the
unbound fraction. This problem has been circumvented by means of the standard
addition method (SAM) used for their quantification (Akkermans et al., 1998).
The concentration of metals in distillates may be affected by complex
formation in the stills, given that such complexes may be less volatile than the
metal ions themselves and thus their final concentration in the distillate would be
smaller than what could be predicted (Adam et al., 2002).
Bioavailability is usually more important than the total concentration of a metal.
Labile metal complexes (ML) are normally more toxic because they are more easily
absorbed by organisms (Arcos et al., 1993).
Organic complexes of Cu are present in residues of the distillation process of
Scotch whiskies (Adam et al., 2002). Cu and Zn form soluble complexes in the
spent wash of whiskey distilleries. Cu is believed to be bound to an organic fraction
containing carbohydrate and ninhydrin, whereas Zn is complexed by a lower
molecular weight fraction containing hexose and phenolic moieties (Quinn et al.,
Fe can complex certain triketones, the main bittering compounds in beer. In
doing so, it may induce their deprotonation and thus contribute to changes in beer
quality during ageing (Blanco et al., 2003).


8. Determination of metals in alcoholic beverages

Analytical methods frequently require sample pre-concentration and/or
pretreatment for the destruction of the organic matrix such as wet digestion, dry
ashing, and microwave oven dissolution (Salvo et al., 2003; Dugo et al., 2004).
Common analytical methods include atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS),
atomic emission spectrometry (AES) and inductively coupled plasmaoptical
emission spectrometry (Camean et al., 2001). Ion chromatography is also used for
the analysis of metals, for example in vodka (Obrezkov et al., 2000). The SAM can
be used with some of these schemes; for example, Cu is determined in cachaza
with SAMAAS (Farias-Almeida et al., 2003). Another alternative involves a
previous fractionation step of the metals from the beverage matrix using either
ionic resins or adsorbents before analyzing food or wine samples (Pohl, 2007a).
Unfortunately, most of these methods involve rather expensive instrumentation
(with its concomitant high-cost maintenance) that precludes their widespread use
among alcoholic beverage producers.
Electrochemical methods have gained considerable ground in the analysis of
alcoholic beverages because of their simplicity, rapidity, and relative low cost but
in the present study FAAS and Flame Photometer were used because of their exact
accuracy and less time consuming property.


The samples of alcoholic beverages analysed in the present study (n = 6)
were purchased from the locality of Agra, Uttar Pradesh. Distilled alcoholic
beverages (n = 6) were selected from the most popular brands consumed by
the local inhabitants taking into consideration their food habits. The samples
were brought to the laboratory of the Department of Chemistry of St. Johns
College, Agra where they were stored at 18 0C until analysed.
Materials and methods
A Perkin-Elmer AAnalyst100 double beam atomic absorption
spectrophotometer (Perkin-Elmer corp., CT) was used at a slit width of 0.7
nm, with hollow cathode lamps for mineral measurements by FAAS. Samples
were atomized for Cr, Cu, Fe, Pb, and Ni. All analyses were performed in peak
height mode to calculate absorbance values.
SYSTRONICS Flame photometer 130 was used for the estimation of Ca and
Sample preparation
All solutions were prepared from analytical reagent grade reagents, for e.g.,
Commercially available 1,000 g/mL Cu [prepared from Cu(NO3)2.3H2O in
0.5 M HNO3] were used. The water employed for preparing the standards for
calibration and dilutions was ultra pure water with a specific resistivity of 18
m_ cm-1 obtained by filtering double-distilled water through a Milli-Q
purifier (Millipore, Waters, Mildford, MA) immediately before use.
Sample treatment and analysis
Cu, Fe and other elements in spirits, gin, vodka, whisky, rum and similar
beverages can be analysed by atomic absorption. It is accurate, fast and
needs no special sample preparation. The samples are aspirated directly and
standards are made up in alcohol to match the content of the particular
Calcium and sodium can be easily analysed by Flame Photometer. Standards
can be prepared as follows-


Calcium 1000 ppm

Dissolved 2.497 g CaCO3 in approx 300 ml glass distilled water and added 10
ml conc. HCl diluted to 1 litre.
For calibration 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100 ppm solutions were prepared from the
stock solution.
Sodium- 1000 ppm
Dissolved 2.5416 g NaCl in one litre of glass distilled water.
For calibration 20, 40, 60, 80 and 100 ppm solutions were prepared from the
stock solution.
Spectroscopy is the measure and interpretation of electromagnetic radiation
absorbed, scattered or emitted by atoms, molecules or other chemical species.
When the electromagnetic radiation absorbed by atoms is studied, it is called
atomic absorption spectroscopy. This absorbance is associated with changes in the
energy state of the interacting chemical species since each species has
characteristics energy states. Atomic absorption spectroscopy (AAS) or atomic
absorption (AA) or atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) uses the absorption of
light to measure the concentration of gas-phase atoms. Since samples are usually
liquids or solids, the analyte atoms or ions must be vaporized in a flame (such as
air-acytelene flame) or graphite furnace that contains the free atoms become a
sample cell. The free atoms absorb incident radiation focused on the from a source
external to a flame and reminder is transmitted to a detector where it is changed
into an electrical signal and displayed, usually after amplification, on a meter chart
recorder or some other type of read-out device.
The sample solution is introduced as an aerosol into the flame and atomized. A
light beam from the source lamp (hollow cathode lamp, HCL) composed of that
element (intense electromagnetic radiation with the wavelength exactly the same
as that is absorbed maximum by the atoms) is directed through the flame, into a
monochromator and onto a detector that measures the amount of the light
absorbed by the atomized element in the flame (Fig. 1). Because each metal has its
own characteristic absorption wavelength, the amount of energy at the
characteristics wavelength absorbed in the flame is proportional to the
concentration of the element in the sample over a limit concentration range.
The atoms absorb ultraviolet or visible light and make transitions to higher
electronic energy levels. The analyte concentration is determined from the
amount of absorption.


Applying the Beer-Lambert law directly in AAS is difficult due to the variations in
the atomization efficiency from the sample matrix, and non uniformity of
concentration and path length of analyte atoms (in graphite furnace AA).
Concentration measurements are usually determined from a working curve after
calibrating the instrument with standard of known solution.


The probability that an atomic spectroscopic transition will occur is called the
transition probability or transition strength. This probability is determine the
extent to which an atom is absorb light at a resonance frequency, and the intensity
of the emission lines from an atomic excited state. The spectral width of a
spectroscopic transition depends on the widths of the initial and final states. The
width of the ground state is essentially a delta function and the width of an excited
state depends on its lifetime.

Light source- The light source is usually a hollow cathode lamp of the element that
is being measured. Lasers are also used in research instruments. Since laser are
intense enough excite atoms to higher energy levels, they allow AA and atomic
fluorescence measurements in a single instrument. This disadvantage of these
narrow-band light sources is that only one element is measurable at a time.
Atomizer- AA spectroscopy requires that the analyte atoms be in the gas phase.
Ions or atoms in a sample must undergo desolvation and vaporization in a high
temperature source such as a flame or graphite furnace. Flame AA can only
analyze solutions, while graphite furnace AA can accept solutions, slurries or solid
Flame AA uses a slot type burner to increase the path length, and therefore to
increase the total absorbance (see Beer-Lambert law).
Sample solutions are usually aspirated with the gas flow into a nebulizing/mixing
chamber to form small droplets before entering the flame.
The graphite furnace has several advantages over a flame. It is much more
efficient atomizer than a flame and it can directly accept very small absolute
quantities of sample.


Samples are placed directly in the graphite furnace and the furnace is electrically
heated in several steps to dry the sample, ash organic matter, and vaporize the
analyte atoms.
Light separation and detection- AA spectrometers use monochromators and
detectors for UV and visible light. The main purpose of the monochromator is to
isolate the absorption line from background light due to interferences. Simple
dedicated AA instruments often replace the monochromator with a band pass
interference filter. Photomultiplier tubes (PMT) are the most common detectors
for AA spectroscopy.


Principle- It measures the decrease in light intensity from a source (HCL) when it
passes through a vapour layer of the atoms of an analyte element. The hollow
cathode lamp produces intense electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength,
exactly the same as that absorbed by the atoms, leading to high sensitivity.
Construction- It consists of a light source emitting the line spectrum of the
element (HCL), a device for the vaporizing the sample (usually a flame), a means of
isolating an absorption line (monochromator) and a photoelectric detector with its
associated electronic amplifying equipment.
Operating Procedure- HCL for the desired elements is installed in instrument and
wavelength dial is set according to the table and also slit width is set according to
the manual. Instrument is turned on for about 20 min to warm up. Air flow rate
and acetylene current are adjusted according to the manual. Standard solution is
aspirated to obtain maximum sensitivity for the element is adjusting nebulizer.
Absorbance of this standard is recorded. Subsequent determinations are made to
check the consistency of the instrument and finally the flame is extinguished by
turning off first acetylene flame and then air.
Lamps- Separate lamp (HCL) is used for each element since multi element hollow
cathode lamps generally provide lower sensitivity.
Vent- A vent is paced about 15-30 cm above the burner to remove the fumes and
vapours from the flame.


Determination of Heavy MetalsReagents1. Air- cleaned and dried through a filter air.
2. Acetylene- standard, commercial grade
3. Metal free water- all the reagents and dilutions were made in metal free water
4. Methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK)- Reagent grade MIBK is purified by re-distillation
before use.
5. Ammonium pyrrolidine dithiocarbamate (APDC) solution- 4 g APDC is dissolved
in 100 ml water.
6. Conc. HNO3
7. Standard metal solutions: Five standard solutions of 0.01, 0.1, 1, 10 and 100
mg/L concentrations of metals such as Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, Cd and Pb for
instrument calibration and sorption study are prepared by diluting their stock
solution of 1 g/l, i.e., 1 ml = 1 mg metal.

Procedurea. Instrument operation- same as above. Solution is aspirated into flame after
adjusting the final burner position until flame is similar to that before aspiration of
b. Standardization- five standard metal solutions in metal free water are selected
for the standardization of the instrument. Transfer standard metal solutions and
blank to a separatory funnel and added 1 ml APDC, 10 ml MIBK and was shaken
vigorously. Aqueous layer is drained off and organic extract was directly aspirated
into the flame.
c. Sample analysis- Atomizer (nebulizer) is rinsed by aspirating water saturated
MIBK and organic extracts obtained by above the method were directly aspirated
into the flame.
d. Calculation- concentration of each metal ion in milligrams per litre is recorded
directly from the instrumentation readout.




Flame photometry is an atomic emission method for the routine detection of
metal salts, principally Na, K, Li, Ca and Ba. Quantitative analysis of these species is
performed by measuring the flame emission of solution containing the metal salts.
Solutions are aspirated into the flame. The hot flame evaporates the solvent,
atomizes the metal, and excites a valence electron to an upper state. Light is
emitted at characteristic wavelengths for each metal as the electron returns to the
ground state. Optical filters are used to select the emission wavelength monitored
for the analyte species. Comparison of emission intensities of unknown to either
that of standard solution, or to those of an internal standard, allows quantitative
analysis of the analyte metal in the sample solution.
Introduction- SYSTRONICS flame photometer 130 is an instrument with which it is
possible to estimate, with speed and accuracy, minute quantities of sodium (Na),
Potassium (K), Calcium (Ca) and Lithium (Li).
The principle of operation is simple. The fluid under analysis is sprayed as a fine
mist into a non-luminous (oxidizing or colorless) flame which becomes colored
according to the characteristic emission of the metal. A very narrow band of
wavelength corresponding to the element (Na: 589 nm, K: 768 nm, Ca: 622nm, Li:
671 nm) being analysed is selected by a light filter and allowed to fall on a photodetector whose output is measure of concentration of the element. The output of
photo-detector is connected to an electronic metering unit which provides digital
readouts. Before analyzing the unknown fluids, the system is standardized with
solutions of known concentrations of the element of interest.
The total system consists of two units1- Main unit,
2- Compressor unit. The main unit consists of an atomizer (for aspiration of
solutions), mixing chamber, burner, optical lens, light filters, photodetectors,
control valves and electronic circuit.
Compressed air (oil free) from the compressor unit is supplied to the atomizer.
Due to a draught of air at the tip of the atomizer, the sample solution is sucked in
and enters in the mixing chamber as a fine atomized jet. Liquefied petroleum gas
(LPG) or laboratory gas from a suitable source is also injected into mixing chamber
at a controlled rate. The mixture of gas and atomized sample is passed on to the
burner and is ignited. The emitted light from the flame is collected by a lens and is
passed through an appropriate filter (Selectable for different element). The filtered
light is then passed on to energize a sensitive photo-detector, the output of which
is applied to the electronic circuit for readout.


Once the burner is ignited and set, followed the steps described belowPut on the mains supply to the unit. Digital display turned on.
Turned the SET F.S. COARSE and FINE controls in maximum clockwise position.
Select appropriate filter with the help of Filter Selector wheel (Na on the left side
and K on the right side).
Feed distilled water to the atomizer and wait atleast for 30 seconds.
Adjust the SET REF. COARSE and FINE controls for a zero readout as nothing
aspirated, for K only.
Aspirate 1 mEq/L of Na solution (or the standard 1.0 / 0.01 mEq/L of Na/K
solution). Wait atleast 30 s and then adjust the SET REF. COARSE and FINE controls
for a readout of 100 for, Na only.
Aspirate the standard mixed 1.7/0.85 mEq/L of Na/K solution and wait atleast for
30 s. Adjust SET F.S. control of the Na side for a readout of 170 and that of the K
side for a readout of 80. The unit stands calibrated.
For a recheck, aspirate the standard mixed solution of 1.0/0.01 mEq/L of Na/K. the
readout for Na and K should be close to 100 and 10 respectively.
Then feed sample solution to the atomizer to get the relative concentration. Wait
atleast for 30 s before taking the reading.


9. Results and discussion

Levels of measured metals (Ca, Cr, Cu, Fe, Pb, Ni and Na) in alcoholic
beverages from Agra are shown in TABLE - VIII. A variability in the
concentrations of the seven elements analysed can be noted. This finding can
be related to the drink type, manufacturing and bottling process.
Drinks of high alcoholic content
Ca, Cr, Cu, Fe, Pb, Ni and Na levels in the whisky, vodka, rum, spirit, deshiliquor, and brandy samples analysed are summarized in TABLE-VIII, where a
variation can be observed among the different samples.
The variability is even more pronounced in the case of Cu and Fe. In drinks of
high alcoholic content, Cu and Fe concentrations determined in the present
study are considerably higher in Brandi and whisky samples (TABLE-VIII). In
liquors, although Ca contents measured by us are higher than those shown in
TABLE-IX. It is interesting to note that many of the food composition and
nutrition tables included in TABLE-IX contain measurements of mineral
content for spirits, although they only collect trace or 0.00 g L-1 levels for
Due to the different manufacturing processes used to produce the liquors
and complex brandies we found that Cu level measured in liquor and vodka
was lower than those found in the group of complex brandies (TABLE-VIII).
This result could be related to the use of copper stills for complex brandies
(whiskies, rums and brandies) which increases Cu concentrations. Since Cr
and Pb both are very hazardous to health and their concentration must be
very low, it was found to be also. Table-VIII shows the very less
concentration of both the elements in all the beverages studied. A little bit
amounts of these metals would have been added due to processing steps like
bottling, aging / storage and adulteration etc.
All the metal concentrations were under the DL, PL and MAL limits.
Even Brandi was found to be a good source of Fe and Cu.


10. Conclusions
Levels of iron, copper, chromium, nickel, lead, calcium and sodium were measured
in alcoholic beverages (Whisky, vodka, rum, brandy, spirit and deshi liquors) using
flame atomic absorption spectrometry (FAAS) and flame photometer. A critical
review is offered concerning the different sources, effects, concentrations,
removal methods, speciation, and analysis of metals (e.g., Ca, Cr, Cu, Fe, Pb, Ni and
Na) present in a variety of alcoholic beverages.
Mineral concentrations were found to be significantly different between the six
alcoholic products studied. In distilled alcoholic beverages, Cu measured
concentrations were statistically different for each of the 6 groups of alcoholic
beverages studied. Contrarily, Cu concentrations were statistically lower.
Remarkably, for Cu, the concentration determined in brandy was statistically
From all studied elements, Cu was the one for which alcoholic beverages
constitute a significant source (more than 10% of recommended daily intake).
These findings are of potential use to food composition tables.
Metals find their way into alcoholic beverages through many possible sources
discussed here. Their effects on the beverages as well as on humans after
consuming such beverages are quite varied. This then necessitates that metals be
subject to regulations. FAAS offers distinct advantages for their analysis.
Caution: Consumption of liquor is injurious to health




Life Stage
14-18 y
19-50 y
14-18 y
19-50 y
19-30 y
31-50 y
19-30 y
31-50 y














Life Stage
14-18 y
19-50 y
14-18 y
19-50 y
19-30 y
31-50 y
19-30 y
31-50 y














Life Stage
14-18 y
19-50 y
14-18 y
19-50 y
19-30 y
31-50 y
19-30 y
31-50 y















Life Stage
14-18 y
19-50 y
14-18 y
19-50 y
19-30 y
31-50 y
19-30 y
31-50 y














Life Stage
14-18 y
19-50 y
14-18 y
19-50 y
19-30 y
31-50 y
19-30 y
31-50 y












For Whom

Amount Known To
FDAs Recommended Safe
Cause Health Problems Daily Diet Lead Intakes
For children under age 6
For children 7 and up
For Adults


Concentrations of Metals in mg/L Found in Various Alcoholic
Beverages during This ProjectElement Calcium

Chromium Copper










Examples of metal concentration limits
for selected beverages
Metal Beverage Concentration limit, mg/L Obligatorietya Reference
Cu Wine 0.5 Recommended Green et al. (1997)
Pb Wine 0.2 Recommended Green et al. (1997)
Cu Brandi 0.05 Recommender Mayer et al. (2003)
Cu Rum 0.1 Recommended Richter et al. (2001)
Cu Vodka 0.02 Recommended Green et al. (1997)
Cu Whisky 0.04 Recommended Salvo et al. (2003), Dugo et al. (2005)
Pb Brandi 0.01 MAL Dugo et al. (2005)
Pb Rum 0.01 MAL Dugo et al. (2005)
Pb Vodka 0.01 MAL Dugo et al. (2005)
Pb Whisky 0.01 MAL Dugo et al. (2005)
Cr Brandi 0.02 MAL Soufleros et al. (2004)
Cr Rum 0.01 MAL Salvo et al. (2003), Dugo et al. (2005)
Cr Vodka 0.01 MAL Soufleros et al. (2004)
Cr Whisky 0.01 MAL Richter et al. (2001)
Fe Brandi 3.0 Recommended (Almeida Neves et al., 2007)
Fe Rum 0.8 Recommended (Almeida Neves et al., 2007)
Fe Vodka 0.1 Recommended (Almeida Neves et al., 2007)
Fe Whisky 1.0 Recommended (Almeida Neves et al., 2007)
Cu Beer 0.05 Recommended Mayer et al. (2003)
Cd Wine 0.1 MAL Salvo et al. (2003), Dugo et al. (2005)
Cu Wine 1.0 MAL Richter et al. (2001)
Pb Wine 0.2 MAL Commission of the European Communities (2006),
Dugo et al. (2005)
Cu Brandi 0.8 MAL Richter et al. (2001)
Zn Wine 0.55 MAL Salvo et al. (2003), Dugo et al. (2005)
Cu Cachaza 5 MAL Richter et al. (2001)
Cu Fruit distillate 5 MAL Soufleros et al. (2004)

MAL = maximum acceptable limit.


Table IX. Ca content in alcoholic beverages in the most

frequently used food composition and nutrition tables in different
Drinks of high
alcoholic content

Ca (g L-1)

Favier et al. (1995,

Mataix Verdu and
Carazo Martin (1995,





Muoz et al. (1999,




Holland et al. (2001,

United Kingdom)



USDA (2005, USA)



Spanish Ministry of
Agriculture (2004,
Food Institute
Informatics (2005,





Ministry of Health
(2005, Canada)



Reference (country)
Souci et al. (1989,

Farran et al. (2004,




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