Near real-time monitoring of carbohydrates during beer processing by a microchip capillary electrophoresis technology

Analytical Session
Dale M Willard, Carbo Analytics, LLC, Fort Collins, CO, USA

ABSTRACT: Sugars are the fundamental intermediary in the brewing process as barley is broken down into sugars before being fermented into ethanol, and monitoring them throughout the process is critical to flavor profile and process efficiency. If an on-line sugar measurement solution was available, brewing facilities could make production adjustments during the process to rapidly dial in batches to within specifications, flag problem variations at an early stage, and quickly pursue corrective actions. Our market research suggests an average facility will save nearly US$1 million annually. Because we hold the only demonstrated technology for combining capillary electrophoresis and pulsed amperometric detection on a microchip format, we can uniquely offer fast, simple, and reliable sugar analysis. A core team of researchers have come together to form Carbo Analytics, LLC (CARBO) with the sole mission of adding value to carbohydrate-based commodities through reliable process monitors. Funded through a U.S. Department of Agriculture Small Business Innovative Research Phase II award (no. 2011-33610-31198), CARBO is currently transforming a proof-of-concept prototype into demonstration units (breadboard and production instruments) meeting end-user specifications and addressing performance, reliability, longevity, and manufacturability. Instruments will be field tested with three key industry leaders. On-line instruments automatically sip, filter, and deliver samples to our microchip for analysis. The instrument design calls for automated analysis of a five sugar panel with a measurement time from sip to a reported result in <15 min. Bench-top instruments, about the size of a brief case, provide results in <2 min with minimal sample pretreatment by the user.

Dale Willard is founder and president of Carbo Analytics, LLC. He was formerly founder and principal scientific investigator for Advanced MicroLabs, LLC. He received his Ph.D. degree in analytical chemistry from Colorado State University and B.S. degree in chemistry from the University of California, Davis. He has served as principal investigator for 11 projects (3 SBIR Phase II awards) and developed 2 commercial prototypes. He has 13 peer-reviewed scientific papers to his credit, is an expert reviewer for several scientific journals and NIH and NSF grant panels, and author of 12 funded scientific research proposals. He is a member of the American Society of Brewing Chemists and the American Chemical Society.