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Trends in Aroma Research and Gas Chromatography-Olfactometry

Contact Author Mans H. Boelens, Harrie Boelens
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This paper looks at two aspects of aroma research, First, we'll review the last 20 years of research concerning volatile constituents in foods and beverages, particularly certain volatile constituents formed from sugars and amino acids during food processing, then we’ll give a brief overview of recent developments in gas chromatography-olfactometry.

Volatile Constituents

During the first Weurman symposium in 1975, Rijkens and Boelens discussed the future of aroma research regarding the number of identified volatile constituents in foods and beverages. More than 5,000 such constituents were expected to be present. Twenty years later, our analysis of the identified volatile constituents in foods and beverages reveals that up to 6,600 have been reported so far. These compounds can be grouped into hydrocarbons, oxygen derivatives, nitrogen derivatives and sulfur derivatives.

It is general knowledge that many flavor components are formed from sugars and amino acids during food processing. During this processing, the Maillard reaction occurs, followed by the Heinz rearrangement and/or the Amadori rearrangement, leading finally to the formation of a series of volatile flavor compounds. Some important groups of these flavor compounds are the esters, the disulfides and methylthio derivatives, and the oxazoles and thiazoles, Trends in each of these three groups will be discussed. We’ll also discuss trends in natural stereoisomers and in the formation of new volatile nitrogen compounds and sulfur compounds, such as the 1,3,5 -dithiazines.

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