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Two Challenging Flavor Systems: Citrus Oils and Vanilla Extracts

By: Michael Porzio
Posted: March 20, 2013, from the April 2013 issue of P&F magazine.

A flavor’s composition and physical properties are key determinates when considering a delivery vehicle for its application. Some immediate considerations include customer requirements, competitive costing, any unusual manufacturing requirements as well as product environments the flavor system must meet. Experience with previous, similar technical requests with their development approaches are usually drawn upon to rapidly move toward a best possible flavor and delivery system. Here we will explore two very basic but distinct flavor systems, citrus oils and vanilla extracts, with some delivery options in their use.

Citrus Oils

Citrus oils are of major continuing importance and interest to flavorists.1 Orange, grapefruit, lemon, lime, mandarin, blood orange and tangerine citrus oils are obtained in the form of cold-pressed single or folded oils. A key component of these flavor oils is the terpene limonene, which can constitute 40–90% of an individual cold-pressed oil. A critical issue arising from the presence of the limonene is its susceptibility to oxidation and the formation of limonene oxide (epoxide). When the limonene epoxide reaches levels of >2.0 mg epoxide/g limonene, an unacceptable off-flavor sensory threshold level is reached. Serendipitously, the ability to monitor citrus oil deterioration by GLC or HPLC analyses of the epoxide levels has been employed in a number of spraydrying encapsulation studies of cold-pressed orange oils. Orange oil spray drying variables such as carriers, total emulsion solids, emulsion droplet particle size distributions, and dryer operational conditions were evaluated by G. Reineccius.2, 3 

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