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Application of Rapid, Electrochemical Flash Titration™ to Total Acidity and Alkalinity Determinations in Buffers, Foods, and Beverages

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A new technique (Flash Titration™) for the determination of total acidity and total alkalinity was applied to food and beverage analysis. Requiring no liquid titrants, Flash Titration is a technique made possible through microfabrication of electrochemical components on a silicon chip. Acidic or basic titrant was generated electrochemically at a noble-metal electrode that intimately surrounded an ion-selective, field-effect transistor pH sensor. As acid or base was generated through electrolysis, sample alkalinity or acidity, respectively, was neutralized in the immediate vicinity of the electrode. Through diffusion, a zone comprising a gradient of partially to totally neutralized sample expanded from the generating electrode into the volume element sensed by the nearby pH sensor. An analysis of the pH signal versus time revealed an end point inflection at an elapsed time related to the total alkalinity or acidity of the sample. End point times were typically a few seconds. In this paper, Flash Titration was applied to the analysis of a variety of samples, including juices, soft drinks, wines, and food products. The differences between the results obtained by the Flash Titration method and a commonly used conventional volumetric method were less than 2% in most food products tested. Analysis costs were reduced both through time saving and reduction or elimination of hazardous liquid titrant disposal, by the use of the Flash Titration method.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Thermo Electron Corp., Environmental Instruments Division, Water Analysis, 166 Cummings Center, Beverly, MA 01915.

Publication date: 2004-09-01

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of AOAC INTERNATIONAL publishes refereed papers and reviews in the fields of chemical, biological and toxicological analytical chemistry for the purpose of showcasing the most precise, accurate and sensitive methods for analysis of foods, food additives, supplements and contaminants, cosmetics, drugs, toxins, hazardous substances, pesticides, feeds, fertilizers and the environment available at that point in time. The scope of the Journal includes unpublished original research describing new analytical methods, techniques and applications; improved approaches to sampling, both in the field and the laboratory; better methods of preparing samples for analysis; collaborative studies substantiating the performance of a given method; statistical techniques for evaluating data. The Journal will also publish other articles of general interest to its audience, e.g., technical communications; cautionary notes; comments on techniques, apparatus, and reagents.
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