Flavor Bites: Nerol Oxide

In count ies where mangoes are indigenous, they are often principally valued for the powerful skin notes derived from a complex and varied series of terpene hydrocarbons. In the West these notes are often toned down significantly, but even at a more subtle level they still contribute significantly to the character recognition of the fruit. The most important varieties of mangoes in commercial terms have skin characters that are underpinned by the two very closely related hydrocarbons myrcene (FEMA# 2762, CAS# 123- 35-3) and ocimene (FEMA# 3539, CAS# 13877-91-3).

These terpenes can certainly be used to recreate the skin effect in mango flavors but they suffer from several serious disadvantages. The most serious technical problem is that they both polymerize on storage. This instability applies equally to storage of the raw material and to storage of the finished flavor and can cause the flavor to cloud and lose intensity quite rapidly.

The second technical problem is their relatively high volatility—they will not survive in any applications involving the significant application of heat. Third, they are both extremely non-polar and do not perform very well in applications incorporating lipids. Myrcene now has the additional health controversy to contend with.

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