Determination and evaluation of methanol, ethanol and higher alcohols in legally and illegally produced alcoholic beverages

Destanoğlu O. , Ateş İ.

Journal of the Turkish Chemical Society, Section A: Chemistry, cilt.6, ss.21-32, 2019 (Diğer Kurumların Hakemli Dergileri) identifier

  • Cilt numarası: 6
  • Basım Tarihi: 2019
  • Doi Numarası: 10.18596/jotcsa.481384
  • Dergi Adı: Journal of the Turkish Chemical Society, Section A: Chemistry
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.21-32


In this paper, we demonstrated the results of ethanol, methanol and higher alcoholic contents of the legally and illegally produced alcoholic samples. For investigation, the samples, which were collected as evidence by officers from the crime scenes or illicit production sites, were sent to our laboratories by prosecutions. 96 Turkish Rakı samples, 8 beer samples, 1 wine sample, 101 other strong drink samples, thus totaling 206 samples, and 2 industrial ethanol samples were examined between years 2015-2017. Fast and reliable analysis of the alcoholic beverages, especially in terms of methanol concentration, has vital importance primarily due to the cases of death arose from metabolic acidosis after consumption of illicit alcoholic beverages with high concentration of methanol produced in clandestine laboratories. In the autumn of 2015, an outbreak of mass methanol poisonings took place and so many people died in Istanbul. An HS-GC-MS system was utilized for qualitative analysis of the higher alcohols and for scanning any volatile compound, whereas the determination of ethanol and methanol concentrations an HS-GC-FID system was performed. So, after all results were investigated in detail, mentioning the key points for evaluations, it was clearly described whether the drinks comply with criteria set by Turkish Food Codex Communiqué on Distilled Alcoholic Beverages. 89 of 96 Rakı samples and 90 of 101 strong alcoholic beverages were not definitely compliant with the Communiqué since they contained either tert-butanol, which is a denaturant, or high levels of methanol.