Characterization of the key aroma compounds in soy sauce using approaches of molecular sensory science

Petra Steinhaus, Peter Schieberle

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252 Scopus citations


Application of aroma extract dilution analysis (AEDA) to the volatiles isolated from a commercial Japanese soy sauce revealed 30 odor-active compounds in the flavor dilution (FD) factor range of 8-4096, among which 2-phenylethanol showed the highest FD factor of 4096, followed by 3-(methylsulfanyl)propanal (methional), the tautomers 4-hydroxy-5-ethyl-2-methyl- and 4-hydroxy-2-ethyl-5- methyl-3(2H)-furanone (4-HEMF), 4-hydroxy-2,5-dimethyl-3(2H)-furanone (4-HDF), and 3-hydroxy-4,5-dimethyl-2(5H)-furanone (sotolone), all showing FD factors of 1024. Thirteen odorants were quantified by stable isotope dilution assays, and their odor activity values (OAVs) were calculated as ratio of their concentrations and odor thresholds in water. Among them, 3-methylbutanal (malty), sotolone (seasoning-like), 4-HEMF (caramel-like), 2-methylbutanal (malty), methional (cooked potato), ethanol (alcoholic), and ethyl 2-methylpropanoate (fruity) showed the highest OAVs (>200). An aqueous model aroma mixture containing 13 odorants, which had been identified with the highest OAVs, in concentrations that occur in the soy sauce showed a good similarity with the overall aroma of the soy sauce itself. Heat treatment of the soy sauce resulted in a clear change of the overall aroma. Quantitation of selected odorants revealed a significant decrease in sotolone and, in particular, increases in 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline, 4-HDMF, and 4-HEMF induced by heating.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)6262-6269
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of agricultural and food chemistry
Issue number15
StatePublished - 25 Jul 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • (E)-β-damascenone
  • Aroma extract dilution analysis
  • Ethyl 2-methylbutanoate
  • Odor activity value
  • Soy sauce


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