Methyl Mercaptan

Contact Author John Wright
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Regular readers of my column may have noted a modest bias toward sulfur compounds that have spectacular effects in less-thanobvious applications. The key benefit of admitting an obvious bias is that it can then be further indulged without undue guilt.

Methyl mercaptan (FEMA# 2716, CAS# 74-93-1) has a unique aroma, reminiscent of asparagus and cabbages, and is clearly a great candidate for a wide range of vegetable flavors. However, it is also surprisingly important in many other diverse flavor types. It can be rather difficult to use because it is highly volatile, with a boiling point of only 6°C. The use of relatively diluted solutions helps to solve the problem, typically 1% of methyl mercaptan in propylene glycol or triacetin.

The dose rates given are the levels of methyl mercaptan to be used in flavors that are intended to be dosed at 0.05% in a ready-to-drink taster, beverage or bouillon application.

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