Capillary electrophoresis (CE) with ultraviolet detection was applied to determine underivatized amino acids in beer, based on the coordination interaction of copper ions and amino acids. An online sweeping technique was combined with CE to improve detection sensitivity. Using the United Nations Food Agriculture Organization/World Health Organization model of essential amino acid pattern and flavor of amino acids, the quality and taste in three kinds of beer were evaluated. It was found that Beer2 had higher quality than the other two kinds and the content of phenylalanine, proline, serine, and isoleucine was relatively large in all three kinds of beers with a great influence on beer flavor. Optimal conditions for separation were as follows: 50mM CuSO4 at pH 4.40 as buffer; total length of fused silica capillary, 73 cm; effective length, 65 cm; separation voltage, 22.5 kV; and optimized sweeping condition, 70 seconds. In the appropriate range, linearity (r2 > 0.9989), precision with a relative standard deviation < 8.05% (n = 5), limits of detection (0.13–0.25 μg/mL), limit of quantification (0.43–0.83 μg/mL), and recovery (80.5–115.8%) were measured. This method was shown to be applicable to the separation of amino acids in beer and to perform quantitative analysis directly without derivatization for the first time. © 2017

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