Evaluation of headspace-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry for the analysis of benzene in vitamin C drinks; pitfalls of headspace in benzene detection

Hyun Kyoung Ju, Jeong Hill Park, Sung Won Kwon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Recently, there have been reports regarding the presence of benzene in vitamin C drinks. This is caused by sodium benzoate and ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which can react together to induce benzene formation. While the headspace gas chromatography method is well known for the detection of benzene, there could be pitfalls in the process of benzene extraction. This study was performed to check if benzene could be generated under high-temperature incubation conditions. As a result, the amount of benzene detected by headspace-gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (HSGC/MS) was affected by temperature changes. As the temperature of the sample vial was increased, newly generated benzene from the headspace also increased, causing false-positive determination of benzene. Although 80°C is generally accepted for the temperature of headspace sample vials, lower temperatures, such as 40°C, minimize the false-positive identification of benzene. Considering that this minimization allows benzene to be quantified at around 5 ppb, this lower temperature should definitely be considered since benzene, which is formed in sodium benzoate, can appear in vitamin C drinks under certain circumstances. The proposed analysis method of benzene in vitamin C drinks by HSGC/MS at 40°C is an accurate and universal method for the monitoring of benzene without false-positive identification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)900-905
Number of pages6
JournalBiomedical Chromatography
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008



  • Benzene
  • Gas chromatography
  • Headspace
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Vitamin C drinks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Pharmacology

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