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J Chromatogr A. 2007 May 25;1150(1-2):70-7. Epub 2006 Aug 1.

The combination of gas chromatography-olfactometry and multidimensional gas chromatography for the characterisation of essential oils.

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Department of Food Science, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand.


A research area of great interest to the flavour industry is the analysis of odour active compounds in essential oils. In this paper, a methodology is presented for the identification of character-impact odorants in essential oil samples using (a) gas chromatography-olfactometry (GC-O); (b) comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography (GC x GC) combined to time-of-flight mass spectrometry (TOFMS) and (c) heart-cut multidimensional gas chromatography-olfactometry (MDGC-O). The specific advantages and limitations of each technique are discussed. The advantage of combining these techniques in a strategy to identify character-impact odorants is demonstrated using examples from coriander leaf (Coriandrum sativum) and hop (Humulus lupulus) essential oils. In particular, resolution of co-eluting regions of compounds and evaluation of their individual odour activity is discussed. In coriander leaf, only E-2-dodecenal was found to contribute to a co-eluting odour region, E-2-dodecen-1-ol and 1-dodecanol being present below detection threshold. Using MDGC on a hop essential oil sample, eight significant peaks were resolved from an 18 s heart-cut where a potent odorant was perceived during GC-O.

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