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2-Methyltetrahydrofuran-3-one and Other Flavor Furans

By: Michael Zviely
Posted: September 7, 2012, from the September 2012 issue of P&F magazine.

2-Methyltetrahydrofuran-3-one (F-1) occurs in coffee, roasted filberts, beer, rum, roasted almonds, potato chips, tobacco, soy sauce and dried scallops.1–4 It has a breadlike odor, buttery top note, and is nutty and astringent with a slight creamy almond nuancea. 2-Methyltetrahydrofuran-3-one is applied in roasted flavorings; almond, rum, cocoa, brandy and caramel flavors; and also in bakery, beef, chocolate, coffee and dairy products.

2-Methyltetrahydrofuran- 3-one is called coffee furanone because of its formation during coffee (Coffea arabica L.) roasting, as shown by Ruiz et al.5 Those authors’ work showed that furfural (CAS# 98-01-1; T-1), 2-methyltetrahydrofuran- 3-one and 2,3-pentanedione (CAS# 600-14-6) comprised the majority of the roasted coffee volatiles when heated at 230°C for 8 min. When the roasting lasted an additional 2 min, more molecules were produced, including 2-furanmethanol (CAS# 98-00-0; T-1), 2-methyl pyrazine (CAS# 109-08-0), 2,6-dimethyl pyrazine (CAS# 108-50-9) and 2-furanmethanol acetate (CAS# 623-17-6; T-1).

2-Methyltetrahydrofuran-3-one is also formed during the Maillard reaction of cysteine and thiamine with reducing sugars. Maillard reactions are known to be important for the aroma generation both in meat and meatlike process flavorings.

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