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PLoS One. 2012;7(8):e42693. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0042693. Epub 2012 Aug 17.

Perceptual characterization and analysis of aroma mixtures using gas chromatography recomposition-olfactometry.

Author information

1
Department of Viticulture and Enology, Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry Graduate Group, University of California Davis, Davis, California, United States of America.

Abstract

This paper describes the design of a new instrumental technique, Gas Chromatography Recomposition-Olfactometry (GC-R), that adapts the reconstitution technique used in flavor chemistry studies by extracting volatiles from a sample by headspace solid-phase microextraction (SPME), separating the extract on a capillary GC column, and recombining individual compounds selectively as they elute off of the column into a mixture for sensory analysis (Figure 1). Using the chromatogram of a mixture as a map, the GC-R instrument allows the operator to "cut apart" and recombine the components of the mixture at will, selecting compounds, peaks, or sections based on retention time to include or exclude in a reconstitution for sensory analysis. Selective recombination is accomplished with the installation of a Deans Switch directly in-line with the column, which directs compounds either to waste or to a cryotrap at the operator's discretion. This enables the creation of, for example, aroma reconstitutions incorporating all of the volatiles in a sample, including instrumentally undetectable compounds as well those present at concentrations below sensory thresholds, thus correcting for the "reconstitution discrepancy" sometimes noted in flavor chemistry studies. Using only flowering lavender (Lavandula angustifola 'Hidcote Blue') as a source for volatiles, we used the instrument to build mixtures of subsets of lavender volatiles in-instrument and characterized their aroma qualities with a sensory panel. We showed evidence of additive, masking, and synergistic effects in these mixtures and of "lavender' aroma character as an emergent property of specific mixtures. This was accomplished without the need for chemical standards, reductive aroma models, or calculation of Odor Activity Values, and is broadly applicable to any aroma or flavor.

PMID:
22912722
PMCID:
PMC3422294
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0042693
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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