Forensic Science, Medicine, and Pathology

, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 194–207 | Cite as

Alcohol congener analysis and the source of alcohol: a review

  • Luke N. RoddaEmail author
  • Jochen Beyer
  • Dimitri Gerostamoulos
  • Olaf H. Drummer


For many decades traditional alcohol congener analysis has provided the concentrations of fermentation by-product congeners found in blood, to ascertain if the claims of an individual regarding the alcoholic beverage(s) they have consumed were feasible, assisting in cases where after-drinking is involved. However, this technique does not provide information on the exact alcoholic beverage(s) consumed. More recently, ingredient biomarker congeners specific to certain alcoholic beverages have been detected in blood, making it possible to identify the particular alcoholic beverage consumed and therefore the source of alcohol (albeit only for a limited number of beverages). This novel approach may reduce current limitations that exist with traditional methods of detecting fermentation by-product congeners, which restrict the use of alcohol congener analysis internationally and for other medico-legal scenarios. This review examines the forensic application of alcohol congener analysis in determining the source of alcohol and other techniques.


Alcohol congener analysis After-drinking Congener Fermentation by-products Ingredient biomarkers Review 



The authors wish to acknowledge Kerry Johannes for her contribution in providing difficult to obtain articles and Dr Jennifer Pilgrim for her assistance with the progression of the article.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luke N. Rodda
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jochen Beyer
    • 1
  • Dimitri Gerostamoulos
    • 1
  • Olaf H. Drummer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Forensic MedicineMonash UniversitySouthbankAustralia

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