Dietary Linalool is Transferred into the Milk of Nursing Mothers

Marcel W. Debong, Katharina N'Diaye, Diana Owsienko, Daniela Schöberl, Tayyaba Ammar, Roman Lang, Andrea Buettner, Thomas Hofmann, Helene M. Loos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Scope: Breast milk is repeatedly postulated to shape the first aroma and taste impressions of infants and thus impact their flavor learning. The objective of this study is to assess the transition of aroma compounds from a customary curry dish into milk. Methods and Results: The article prepares a standardized curry dish and administers the dish to nursing mothers (n = 18) in an intervention study. The participants donate one milk sample before and three samples after the intervention. Due to their olfactory or quantitative relevance in the curry dish, 1,8-cineole, linalool, cuminaldehyde, cinnamaldehyde, 4-hydroxy-2,5-dimethyl-3(2H)-furanone, sotolone, eugenol, vanillin, and γ-nonalactone are defined as target compounds, and their transition into milk is quantified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. A significant transition into the milk is observed for linalool, and its olfactory relevance in this respect is supported by calculated odor activity values. In contrast, no relevant levels are detected for the other eight target compounds. Conclusion: Ingestion of a customary curry dish can lead to an alteration of the milk aroma, which might be perceived by the infant during breastfeeding. The current study also demonstrates that the extent of aroma transfer differs between both substances and individuals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2100507
JournalMolecular Nutrition and Food Research
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2021


  • aroma transition
  • breast milk
  • flavor learning
  • linalool
  • maternal diet


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