New flavors appear in a great variety of food products: citrus, coffee, chocolate, meat, etc. and can be purchased in many different flavors. The chemical analysis of these flavors can be challenging. Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) is used as the main tool for developing such flavors.
Individual components of different flavor formulations can be
varied in composition and quantity depending on the final product
desired. A food or a beverage contains hundreds to thousands of
aroma chemicals and each of these molecules have a unique odor.
Until now, more than 15,000 different aroma ingredients were identified in different foods and beverages and over 5,000 are used for flavor
development. There are also more than 1,000 different essential oils
and botanical extracts used in flavorings. Each of these essential oils is
a natural mixture of many natural aromatic chemicals.
As an example, T- 1 shows a list of identified aroma molecules in
sweet orange peel oil c.p. (Citrus sinensis var. Navelina) blond Italy.
As can be seen, more than 50 different aroma molecules were
identified in this oil. In coffee aroma, over 900 different molecules were
identified, and hundreds of aroma molecules were identified in cocoa.
For many years the identification of flavoring substances by GCMS
became a common practice. For example, if a new formula needs
to be developed that matches a certain flavor target, a series of trial
formulations can be developed along with a method that compares
samples. However, the method of sample extraction can be key in the
information obtained from the instrumental analysis and it is important to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each approach in
order to select the most appropriate technique for each application.
Nonetheless, the first stage should involve an efficient sampling of the
food or beverage product, in which the flavor is of interest.