Selective determination of volatile sulfur compounds in wine by gas chromatography with sulfur chemiluminescence detection

J Agric Food Chem. 2010 Sep 8;58(17):9454-62. doi: 10.1021/jf102008r.


Volatile sulfur compounds can be formed at various stages during wine production and storage, and some may impart unpleasant "reduced" aromas to wine when present at sensorially significant concentrations. Quantitative data are necessary to understand factors that influence the formation of volatile sulfur compounds, but their analysis is not a trivial undertaking. A rapid and selective method for determining 10 volatile sulfur-containing aroma compounds in wine that have been linked to "off-odors" has been developed. The method utilizes static headspace injection and cool-on-column gas chromatography coupled with sulfur chemiluminescence detection (GC-SCD). Validation demonstrated that the method is accurate, precise, robust, and sensitive, with limits of quantitation around 1 microg/L or better, which is below the aroma detection thresholds for the analytes. Importantly, the method does not form artifacts, such as disulfides, during sample preparation or analysis. To study the contribution of volatile sulfur compounds, the GC-SCD method was applied to 68 commercial wines that had reductive sensory evaluations. The analytes implicated as contributors to reductive characters were hydrogen sulfide, methanethiol, and dimethyl sulfide, whereas carbon disulfide played an uncertain role.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Chromatography, Gas / methods*
  • Limit of Detection
  • Luminescence
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sulfur / analysis*
  • Volatilization
  • Wine / analysis*


  • Sulfur