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Appl Microbiol Biotechnol. 2008 Jan;77(6):1191-205. Epub 2007 Dec 7.

Formation of volatile sulfur compounds and metabolism of methionine and other sulfur compounds in fermented food.

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AgroParisTech INRA, INRA Centre de Biotechnologies Agro-Industrielles, 78850, Thiverval-Grignon, France.


The formation of volatile sulfur compounds (VSC) in fermented food is a subject of interest. Such compounds are essential for the aroma of many food products like cheeses or fermented beverages, in which they can play an attractive or a repulsive role, depending on their identity and their concentration. VSC essentially arise from common sulfur-bearing precursors, methionine being the most commonly found. In the first section of this paper, the main VSC found in cheese, wine, and beer are reviewed. It is shown that a wide variety of VSC has been evidenced in these food products. Because of their low odor threshold and flavor notes, these compounds impart essential sensorial properties to the final product. In the second section of this review, the main (bio)chemical pathways leading to VSC synthesis are presented. Attention is focused on the microbial/enzymatic phenomena-which initiate sulfur bearing precursors degradation-leading to VSC production. Although chemical reactions could also play an important role in this process, this aspect is not fully developed in our review. The main catabolic pathways leading to VSC from the precursor methionine are presented.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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