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Molecule of the Month: Nootkatone

By: Michael Zviely, CIC
Posted: November 12, 2009, from the December 2009 issue of P&F magazine.

Nootkatone is a crystalline material possessing an extremely powerful grapefruit aroma and a woody topnote. It is found in citrus oils (for example, grapefruit) and can be purified from both citrus cold pressed oils as well as essential oils. Pure nootkatone products are white to yellowish crystals, whereas nootkatone products of lesser purity are transparent yellowish to yellow colored liquids.

Due to its powerful citrusy, woody, sweet juicy notes, peely and grapefruitlike aroma profile, nootkatone is used in formulation of grapefruit and other citrus-flavored beverages. In fragrances, it is used in creation of dry and citrusy compounds for men’s perfumes; however, for such applications, the material needs to be 98% pure and with a melting point of at least 32°C, as lower purity grades are not suitable to be used as a fragrance ingredients.1

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