Volatile nitrogen compounds play an important role in the sensory properties of food flavors. Character-impact nitrogen compounds have, for instance, been found in the flavors of processed foods and drinks, such as bread, meat, coffee and cocoa. During the last decade attention has been paid to the characterization and sensory properties of nitrogen compounds from natural isolates such as headspaces and absolutes of flowers and essential oils.
A study was made of the occurrence, identities and sensory properties of volatile nitrogen compounds emitted by flowers and isolated from flower absolutes and essential oils. More than 130 aliphatic- and aromatic-nitrogen compounds, substituted pyridines, quinolines, pyrazines, (iso)oxazoles and thiazoles have been detected in these natural isolates. The sensory properties (i,e., the odor qualities) of various representatives of the nitrogen compounds were studied. Some of the nitrogen compounds contribute significantly to the sensory properties of the naturals.
It is general knowledge that volatile nitrogen compounds are organoleptically important constituents of flavors. Thorough reviews have been published about this subject. In the early 1970s much work was done to determine the sensory properties of these flavor compounds. During the last decade the characterization and determination of the sensory properties of volatile nitrogen compounds from natural isolates came more and more into focus. This interest arose from the improvements in the isolation and concentration of volatile trace constituents from natural products and was initiated by modern chromatographic techniques, such as gas chromatography on high resolution, high precision fused silica capillary columns.