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J Agric Food Chem. 2000 Oct;48(10):4835-8.

Identification and quantification of geosmin, an earthy odorant contaminating wines.

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Faculté d'OEnologie, Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2, 351 cours de la libération, 33405 Talence Cedex, France.


Musty, earthy odors are highly detrimental to the aromatic quality of wines. A characteristic aroma of freshly tilled earth, damp cellar was studied in some red and white wines of different origins. The extraction and purification of the wines marked by this odor have shown after analysis by gas chromatography-olfactometry a unique strong odorous zone having the same odor as the one perceived at tasting. The compound responsible for this odorous zone was identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry as geosmin (trans-1,10-dimethyl-trans-9-decalol), which possesses a distinctive earthy odor. Geosmin may be present in wines at levels higher than the racemic geosmin olfactory perception threshold, thus suggesting its contribution to their off-aroma. Moreover, the presence of this compound in juice taken from freshly crushed grapes suggests that microorganisms that develop on the grapes may contribute to the presence of this compound in wines.

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