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Checking the level of diacetyl and acetyl propionyl in e-liquids

Diacetyl and acetyl propionyl are two molecules of the dicarbonyl family present in the natural state in many plants. Their use in certain e-liquids for e-cigarettes is due to their taste properties. Diacetyl and acetyl propionyl have a delicious strong buttery and creamy taste. They are used in many agro-food flavours.

Detection method


Volume required


Analysis time

3 working days

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What are the effects of diacetyl and acetyl propionyl on humans?

Ingested, diacetyl and acetyl propionyl are inoffensive. Therefore, their use is widespread in agro-food flavours. However, their small size and great capacity to react with proteins, can present a potential risk in inhalation.

A study carried out by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health in 2011 established direct causal link between the inhalation of vapour containing diacetyl and acetyl propionyl and the development of respiratory pathologies such as obliterative bronchiolitis. The results of this study however remain to be relativised because the studied population was exposed to ambient air containing these substances. This constitutes an exposure route relatively different from the inhalation of an aerosol produced by an electronic cigarette. For more information, please consult our articles on the subject.

Why determine the level of diacetyl and acetyl propionyl in e-liquids?

Given the toxic potential in inhalation of these products, their control in a product is becoming a health and commercial argument for many e-liquid brands. Moreover, the French standard AFNOR XP D90-300-2, on e-liquids further limits the concentration of diacetyl in vaping products to 22 ppm maximum. Therefore, ingésciences now offers a simple fast analysis to ensure compliance with the requirements of this standard with voluntary application.

In regulatory terms, since 2016 the manufacturers of e-liquids must declare on a European notification platform the composition of all the products containing nicotine (e-liquid and emission), in application of the TPD, the European directive on tobacco products. For this, all the components of an e-liquid having a concentration greater than 0.1% must be known and quantified. Our OpenSciences laboratory determines the levels of diacetyl and acetyl propionyl in e-liquids and in their emissions for the manufacturers of e-liquids and flavours.

Ingésciences advice

E-cigarettes are a risk reduction tool. Their use is tending to be the most responsible possible. For product improvement purposes, it appears essential for sector actors to inform individuals of the risks they run in inhaling potentially dangerous molecules. To optimise their quality approach, e-liquid manufacturers can also look for the presence of diacetyl and acetyl propionyl in their products.

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Check the level of diacetyl and acetyl propionyl in your products?