Device for rapid detection of methanol in alcoholic beverages
The authors of the Institute of Tropical Technology (Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology) have successfully made a device to quickly and accurately analyze the highly toxic substance methanol in alcoholic beverages.

SPE electrode sensor. Photo: NNC

Methanol is also known as methyl alcohol, wood alcohol, wood naphtha. This is the simplest, light, colorless, volatile, flammable alcohol, with a characteristic odor similar to white ethanol. Unlike ethanol, methanol has a sweeter and more aromatic taste and is highly toxic. In industries, methanol is an antifreeze agent, a solvent for dissolving production materials, an organic solvent for paints and varnishes, a raw material for the production of plastics and for the synthesis of organic substances to produce fuels, such as gas and biodiesel.

In order to quickly, accurately and timely analyze the methanol content in alcoholic beverages, gasoline and fuel, the authors of the Institute of Tropical Technology (Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology) performed the science and technology task "Manufacturing electrochemical sensors and instrumentation systems for the analysis of methanol in alcoholic beverages and gasoline fuels.”

The authors have designed and fabricated a printed electrode (SPE) for application as a methanol analysis sensor. At the same time, set up and optimize the synthesis conditions for PANI and composite films (PANI-Graphene, PANI-CNTs) for modified SPE electrodes. Thereby, the group has successfully manufactured a portable electrochemical device with two versions: a portable electrochemical device with a PLC display screen, a battery that allows field measurements to be performed without connecting the computer and external power source; and portable electrochemical device connected to a computer, an external power source can be installed at analysis stations with full electrochemical measurement and analysis functions. At the same time, successfully connecting the two electrochemical systems above with the SPE electrode, creating a methanol sensor system, allowing analysis in the field or in the laboratory.

The results of methanol analysis in 0.1M NaOH environment show that the sensor has high sensitivity, meeting the analysis requirements for samples of alcoholic beverages and gasoline fuels with concentrations of 50 mg/L to 10,000 mg. /L, response time less than 3 seconds, good repeatability.

Comparing the operation of the sensor with the GC/MS method (gas chromatography-coupled mass spectrometry) shows that the control analysis results for distilled alcohol (white wine) samples added 2,000 ppm methanol and A95 gasoline samples add 10,000 ppm methanol, giving quite similar results.

According to the authors, the advantage of the sensor method is direct analysis, fast results, while the GC/MS method requires sample dilution and long analysis time.

According to Professor. Dr. Tran Dai Lam, Project Manager, quantitative analysis of methanol by in-depth analysis such as chromatographic methods is time consuming from sampling to results, the process is complicated and costly. Meanwhile, using simple and low-cost test kits, but only when the methanol is present in alcohol with high concentration and cannot be detected when it is mixed with other substances inherent in alcoholic beverages fake wine, poor quality wine, and etc.).

The research project has been accepted by the Department of Science and Technology of Ho Chi Minh City.

ctngoc (ctngoc)
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