Title

Electrochemical Detection of Ethyl Carbamate Using a Modified Graphite Electrode

Standing

Undergraduate

Type of Proposal

Poster Presentation

Challenges Theme

Fostering Sustainable Industry

Your Location

University of Windsor

Faculty

Faculty of Science

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Jichang Wang

Abstract/Description of Original Work

Ethyl carbamate (EC) is a naturally occurring component in most fermented food/beverages. Since EC has been classified as a class 2A carcinogen by the World Health Organization, it’s important to closely monitor and eventually regulate EC levels in all fermented products. Unfortunately, EC concentrations are low and may fluctuate over a broad range as it’s formed through several precursors that arise naturally from maturing grain whiskey. The current EC detection protocol deployed by most distilleries such as Hiram Walker in Windsor requires several expensive instruments and tedious procedures, although the measurement is accurate. In an attempt to provide a more cost and time efficient detection method, we are exploring electroanalytical approaches. Electrochemical sensors are devices that operate by reacting with chemical solutions while producing electric signals proportional to the analyte concentration. Electrochemical sensors have been proven to have a very wide detection range; they possess extremely low power requirements and they can be very inexpensive. Our preliminary experimental data illustrate that a modified graphite electrode that was conveniently fabricated in an acidic solution was able to respond to ethyl carbamate at concentrations as low as 100ppb – Just below the Canadian legal limit, 150ppb. Further research is being conducted in order to optimize the modification of graphite electrodes, aiming of being used to improve current detection methods at distilleries like Hiram Walker.

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Electrochemical Detection of Ethyl Carbamate Using a Modified Graphite Electrode

Ethyl carbamate (EC) is a naturally occurring component in most fermented food/beverages. Since EC has been classified as a class 2A carcinogen by the World Health Organization, it’s important to closely monitor and eventually regulate EC levels in all fermented products. Unfortunately, EC concentrations are low and may fluctuate over a broad range as it’s formed through several precursors that arise naturally from maturing grain whiskey. The current EC detection protocol deployed by most distilleries such as Hiram Walker in Windsor requires several expensive instruments and tedious procedures, although the measurement is accurate. In an attempt to provide a more cost and time efficient detection method, we are exploring electroanalytical approaches. Electrochemical sensors are devices that operate by reacting with chemical solutions while producing electric signals proportional to the analyte concentration. Electrochemical sensors have been proven to have a very wide detection range; they possess extremely low power requirements and they can be very inexpensive. Our preliminary experimental data illustrate that a modified graphite electrode that was conveniently fabricated in an acidic solution was able to respond to ethyl carbamate at concentrations as low as 100ppb – Just below the Canadian legal limit, 150ppb. Further research is being conducted in order to optimize the modification of graphite electrodes, aiming of being used to improve current detection methods at distilleries like Hiram Walker.