Flavor chemistry is such a broad and encompassing field because in our daily life we are literally surrounded by aromas. In our search to unlock their secrets our investigations must sometimes be limited to narrow, distinctly defined issues, yet at other times our interest is much broader and far reaching. These two approaches provide us with different perspectives of the ever present aromas.
Food flavors have been made throughout history by the reactions of carbohydrates and proteins with and without the intervention of flavor chemists. Since Maillard’s first report some 70 years ago, many studies have been made to understand this prevalent and intricate reaction. The pleasantness of the flavors, their economic importance, and the intrigue they bring to the investigator makes Maillard reaction flavors an exciting and much studied field.
It is frequently desirable and indeed often necessary to optimize a reaction product, enhancing one component at the expense of another by identifying and exploiting synergistic reaction conditions. These might be determined by trial and error but more properly by use of a planned approach using an experimental design.