College of Food Science and Engineering, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510640, PR China; Beijing Advanced Innovation Center for Food Nutrition and Human Health, Beijing Technology and Business University, Beijing 100048, PR China; College of Food Science, Beijing Technology and Business University, Beijing 100048, PR China. Electronic address: [Email]
Phthalate esters (PAEs) are harmful to human health and have been repeatedly identified in Baijiu samples. In our study, the distribution and degradation characteristics of 14 PAEs in Baijiu raw materials (BRMs) and Baijiu during distillation were detected using QuEChERS or vortex-assisted surfactant-enhanced-emulsification liquid-liquid micro-extraction (VSLLME) methods coupled with gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. The same five PAEs were detected in all tested samples, values ranged from 0.003 to 0.292 mg/kg; however, higher concentrations existed in BRMs compared to Baijiu samples. Using multivariate statistical analysis, detailed distinctions between different varieties of Baijiu and BRMs and separation-related PAE markers were revealed. PAEs concentration during Baijiu distillation showed a decreasing trend. The highest concentrations detected in distillate heads, were 1.6-, 2.3-, and 8.1-fold higher than those in heart1, heart2, and tail distillates, respectively. These findings revealed that PAEs may migrate from BRMs; moreover, that PAEs content can be regulated by distillation.