Acrolein Dimer as a Marker for Direct Detection of Acrolein in Wine

  • R. Bauer Institute for Microbial Biotechnology and Metagenomics, Department of Biotechnology, University of the Western Cape, Cape Town, South Africa
  • F. Hiten Central Analytical Facility, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • A.M. Crouch Institute of Molecular Sciences, Faculty of Science, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • J. Kossmann Institute for Plant Biotechnology, Department of Genetics, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • B.V. Burger Department of Chemistry, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa


Acrolein is highly toxic and its presence in wine has been correlated with the development of bitterness.
Analytical detection and quantification in aqueous solutions are challenging due to high reactivity
and problems with chemical derivative analysis. Here we demonstrate the potential of a natural
derivative, formed under conditions prevailing in wine, as a marker for acrolein detection. Solid-phase
microextraction (SPME) coupled with gas chromatograph mass spectrometry (GC-MS) was validated as
a technique for direct detection of the acrolein dimer. Conventional GC-MS analysis using a quadrupole
mass spectrometer did not provide sufficient chromatographic resolution for the separation of the target
analyte from interfering compounds. Accurate mass measurements with time-of-flight (TOF)-MS, on the
other hand, allowed qualitative and quantitative measurements of the acrolein dimer. This work lays the
analytical foundation for studies on the evolution of acrolein and its dimer in solution.


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