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Natural Ingredients and Formulation, Human Olfaction and Sustaining Creativity: P&F's November Issue

Posted: October 21, 2009

The November 2009 issue of Perfumer & Flavorist magazine focuses on naturals--ingredients and formulation. In addition to news, analysis, new product introductions and events, highlights include:

Flavor Bites: cis-3-Hexenoic Acid
By: John Wright
Even the most popular raw materials are likely to emit a repulsive odor if smelled in their undiluted form, and cis-3-hexenoic acid (FEMA# 4493), with its unattractive miasma of stale sweat, is no exception. Intuitively, this raw material shows no visible flavor connections; the most natural reaction by flavorists, thus, would be to keep this ingredient out of sight and out of mind.

Fusarium and Vanilla: Time to Worry?
By: Jeb Gleason-Allured, Editor
Fusarium, an opportunistic root fungus, was first noted in 1898 in S.J. Galbraith’s “Vanilla Culture as Practiced in the Seychelles Islands.” At the time, the United States sought to break the vanilla monopolies of Madagascar and Mexico by cultivating the temperamental orchid in Puerto Rico. This proved unsuccessful. While Galbraith’s report described vanilla as a robust plant with remarkable yields per acre, he also discovered that any breakout of disease—particularly Fusarium—would lead to the rapid and complete destruction of all vines. One hundred and twelve years later, the threat remains as present as ever. “That’s what people today don’t understand about Fusarium,” says Hank Kaestner, a consultant with Dammann and Co. and presenter at the recent Vanilla 2009 event in Jamesburg, New Jersey. “Once Fusarium gets into a plantation, it’s very difficult to eradicate. It moves very quickly to eliminate the crop.”

Human Olfaction: From the Nose to Receptors
By: Alex Veithen, Françoise Wilkin, Magali Philippeau and Pierre Chatelain
The discovery of the role of olfactory receptors (ORs) in 1991 by Linda Buck and Richard Axel (Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, 2004) paved the way for better understanding of the sense of smell and its molecular mechanisms. Since then, several studies have demonstrated that ORs play an important role in odorant perception, recognition and discrimination, and that humans can discriminate among an almost infinite spectrum of different odors. The genes coding for ORs represent the largest family of genes (3% of the whole genome) in the human body dedicated to a single physiological function. Meanwhile, an unexplained 60% of these OR genes are found to be non-active (pseudogenes), thereby leaving humans with about 400 different OR proteins. Each receptor interacts with different molecules, and each odorant molecule can activate more than one OR. Thus, odor perception does not rely on the simple activation of a single OR, but rather on multiple activations of several ORs. An odor (which can be a single molecule or a mixture) is paired with a unique set of activated ORs that are sufficient for its discrimination and characterization.

Stimulating Creativity
By: David Baines
Flavorists and perfumers understand the frustration that a bad cold and a blocked nose can cause. Volatile organic substances and mixtures used in flavor creation and perfumery become just like any other liquid, lacking their essence and character, and the ability to create anything meaningful with them is temporarily incapacitated. But worse than this, the stimulus and motivation of the job is put on hold until the sense of smell returns. The interaction of volatile organic compounds with the olfactory epithelium is a key mechanism that stimulates the creative juices of perfumers and flavorists, and releases the excitement and elation of either creating something new or matching an existing material. Creative ideas are also stimulated by the accumulation of knowledge and understanding about the subject, having a memory for hundreds of smells and the experience of using them, reading, comparing notes with like-minded flavorists and perfumers, and associations that can form in the mind from other subjects and experiences such as a new food.

Molecule of the Month: trans-2-Dodecenal
By: Michael Zviely
trans-2-Dodecenal, a colorless to slightly yellow liquid, is found in dairy products, chicken, coriander oil (Coriandrum sativum L.), peanuts, citrus oils and rice. Previously known to occur only in plants, this material has been identified in the defensive secretion of the spiroboloid millipede Rhinocricus insulates, and shows promising antiviral and antibacterial properties. The aroma profile of trans-2-dodecenal can be described as intensely fatty, waxy, mandarin orange and somewhat citrusy on dilution. In addition to its application in dairy and meaty flavorings, citrus fruits, coriander, dairy products, mandarin, orange and tangerine flavors, this material can also be used in formulation of tropical blends. In fragrances, trans-2-dodecenal can be used to obtain the heavy notes in a citrus complex for cosmetic purposes.

Organoleptic Characteristics of Flavor Materials
By: Gerard Mosciano
Gerard Mosciano is joined by Judith Michalski, flavor consultant; Carl Holmgren, consulting flavor chemist; William Jaggard, Bell Flavors; and Douglas Young, principal flavorist, Symrise, in the organoleptic evaluations presented here.Organoleptic evaluations on 9-decenoic acid, dihydro linalool oxide, dihydro-β-Ionone, methyl trans-3-hexenoate and more.

Comparative Analysis of Historical Peppermint Oil from Bulgaria and a Commercial Oil of North American Origin
By: Erich Schmidt, Juergen Wanner, Stefanie Bail, Leopold Jirovetz, Gerhard Buchbauer, Velizar Gochev, Tanya Girova, Ilia Iliev, Albena Stoyanova and Teodora Atanasova
The production of peppermint oil in Bulgaria dates back to the middle of the 18th century, when it was carried out in a very primitive way by water distillation of local varieties of wild mint, pennyroyal and field mint. The derived oil has been used only in traditional medicine. The first trials to introduce peppermint as a crop culture in Bulgaria were recorded in 1905, but were unsuccessful. The industrial cultivation of peppermint commenced after 1923, and by 1938, Bulgaria ranked third in the world in terms of peppermint oil production. During the Second World War, production dropped substantially, but the country managed to regain its position during the 1950s. Bulgarian peppermint oil has gained world popularity under the name Bulgaro-Mitchum oil (after the Mitchum region, England). Its recognition is especially due to its rich and pleasant odor, sweet-peppery taste and extraordinarily high menthol content, which makes it highly praised on the international market.

Progress in Essential Oils
By: Brian M. Lawrence
Compositional evaluations of jasmin absolute oil, atlas cedarwood oil and Canadian hemlock oil.