First handheld device to detect spurious liquor
London, September 22: The world’s first handheld device is developed by scientists to detect spurious vodka and whisky when it is still in the bottle.
Beneath concealing surfaces, such as glass bottles, spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS) devices give highly accurate chemical analysis of objects and contents.
Isolation of chemically-rich information that is held within the spirits will be enabled by SORS device using an optical approach where lasers would be directed through glass.
Such devices, even though commercially available, are usually used for security and detection of hazardous materials, screening and pharmaceutical analysis.
The first handheld tool being used for a food or beverage product is this new version developed at University of Manchester in the UK.
Roy Goodacre, professor at University of Manchester, is the on who led the research. According to him, “food and beverage counterfeiting comes with the very real potential for serious health, economic and social consequences, especially when it comes to alcohol products.”
Goodacre added, “an essential part of ensuring consumer confidence is to provide assurance that these products are authentic and have not been either contaminated or counterfeited.” Fake alcohol can even cause massive implications on the health of its drinkers.
Counterfeit alcohols do not follow stringent health and safety procedures, and often contain dangerous levels of methanol – a chemical used in antifreeze, which can cause sore throats, dizziness, sickness and even blindness.
“Sales of illicit spirit drinks can also have serious health impacts when industrial alcohols or methanol are used by counterfeiters and unknowingly consumed, with multiple deaths reported worldwide each year,” said David Ellis, co-author of the study published in the journal Nature.
“That is why we have developed this approach, not only to ensure brand authenticity, but also to safeguard public health,” said Ellis.
The team tested the gadget on around 150 well-known brands of Scotch Whisky, rum, gin and vodka in closed glass containers, including 40 counterfeit products.
As well as detecting the contents of fake alcohol, the researchers could also discriminate between multiple well-known Scotch Whisky brands and detect different levels of alcohol.
The team also tested the device on several bottles of spirit drinks bought ‘off the shelf’ from local shops.
These were first measured unopened, then opened and contaminated with different levels of methanol (1, 2 and 3 percent) and the tops replaced.
The device detected the contamination with methanol through multiple colours of glass bottles in several types of spirit drinks including Scotch Whisky, gin and vodka, researchers said.
(Inputs from agencies)