High Impact Aroma Chemicals Part 2: the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

In Part 1, “More Fizz for your Buck”, the role of high impact aroma chemicals as character impact materials in foodstuffs was described. In that article, a simple 16- segment flavor wheel was used as the theme to link the materials. Developing this idea further, I have produced a 20-segment wheel, shown in Figure 1.

This expanded wheel enables us to see some broad groupings. The eastern sector is the “sweet” sector (pictured in Figure 2), with “savory” materials in the west (Figure 3); sweet and savory overlap in the southeast.

A second differentiator reflects the origins of the aroma chemicals, and, in turn, their applications. Clockwise from “mushroom” to “vegetable”, the materials are formed by biogenesis in plants, and so are of particular interest in creating the flavors of fresh fruits and vegetables (Figure 4). By contrast, most of the others are commonly found as Maillard reaction products (the term “advanced” Maillard products has been used by Shieberle to differentiate them from the first formed Maillard products such as the Strecker aldehydes), and hence are of most interest in flavors for cooked foods (Figure 5).

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