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J Agric Food Chem. 2007 Dec 12;55(25):10117-28. Epub 2007 Nov 10.

Release kinetics of volatile organic compounds from roasted and ground coffee: online measurements by PTR-MS and mathematical modeling.

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Nestlé Product Technology Center, CH-1350 Orbe, Switzerland.


The present work shows the possibilities and limitations in modeling release kinetics of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from roasted and ground coffee by applying physical and empirical models such as the diffusion and Weibull models. The release kinetics of VOCs were measured online by proton transfer reaction-mass spectrometry (PTR-MS). Compounds were identified by GC-MS, and the contribution of the individual compounds to different mass fragments was elucidated by GC/PTR-MS. Coffee samples roasted to different roasting degrees and ground to different particle sizes were studied under dry and wet stripping conditions. To investigate the accuracy of modeling the VOC release kinetics recorded using PTR-MS, online kinetics were compared with kinetics reconstituted from purge and trap samplings. Results showed that uncertainties in ion intensities due to the presence of isobaric species may prevent the development of a robust mathematical model. Of the 20 identified compounds, 5 were affected to a lower extent as their contribution to specific m/z intensity varied by <15% over the stripping time. The kinetics of these compounds were fitted using physical and statistical models, respectively, the diffusion and Weibull models, which helped to identify the underlying release mechanisms. For dry stripping, the diffusion model allowed a good representation of the release kinetics, whereas for wet stripping conditions, release patterns were very complex and almost specific for each compound analyzed. In the case of prewetted coffee, varying particle size (approximately 400-1200 microm) had no significant effect on the VOC release rate, whereas for dry coffee, the release was faster for smaller particles. The absence of particle size effect in wet coffee was attributed to the increase of opened porosity and compound diffusivity by solubilization and matrix relaxation. To conclude, the accurate modeling of VOC release kinetics from coffee allowed small variations in compound release to be discriminated. Furthermore, it evidenced the different aroma compositions that may be obtained depending on the time when VOCs are recovered.

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