Editor's Note
This study aimed to develop an innovative surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) method for analyzing headspace volatile compounds in foods. The SERS method developed was able to quantify the concentration of diallyl disulfide in the headspace of a raw garlic ethanolic extract. Compared to GC, the SERS method had a much shorter analysis time and simpler sample preparation procedure when analyzing large numbers of samples.
Abstract

Background
Surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) has been deployed in the analysis of food at solid and aqueous states. However, its capability has not been fully explored in headspace profiling.

Objective
To develop an innovative SERS method for analyzing headspace volatile compounds in foods.

Methods
A volatile-capture device was developed by depositing a film of silver nanoparticles in a vial cap to capture the volatiles released from a model flavor compound (garlic).

Results
SERS peaks at 1632, 1400, 1291, 1191, 731, and 577 cm−1 were identified in the headspace of the garlic sample, which was representative of an organosulfur compound (diallyl disulfide), and its concentration was determined at 135 ppm, which was comparable to the value determined using GC. Preparation and analysis could be carried out in <10 min for the SERS method. The sensitivity of the SERS method (10 ppm), however, was slightly less than that of the GC method (5 pm).

Conclusions
The SERS method was able to quantify the concentration of diallyl disulfide in the headspace of a raw garlic ethanolic extract. Compared to GC, the SERS method had a much shorter analysis time and simpler sample preparation procedure than GC when analyzing large numbers of samples.

Highlights
The innovative “mirror-in-a-cap” substrate was simpler and faster than other reported SERS substrates used for this purpose. Additionally, SERS has much better portability and the potential for real-time monitoring of changes in the garlic headspace concentration during manufacturing and processing.

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