Identification of the key aroma compounds in cocoa powder based on molecular sensory correlations

Felix Frauendorfer, Peter Schieberle

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Isolation of the volatile fraction from cocoa powder (50 g; 20% fat content) by a careful extraction/ distillation process followed by application of an aroma extract dilution analysis revealed 35 odor-active constituents in the flavor dilution (FD) factor range of 8-4096. Among them, 4-hydroxy-2,5-dimethyl-3(2H)-furanone (caramel-like), 2- and 3-methylbutanoic acid (sweaty, rancid), dimethyl trisulfide (cooked cabbage), 2-ethyl-3,5-dimethylpyrazine (potato-chip-like), and phenylacetaldehyde (honey-like) showed the highest FD factors. Quantitation of 31 key odorants by means of stable isotope dilution assays, followed by a calculation of their odor activity values (OAVs) (ratio of concentration to odor threshold) revealed OAVs > 100 for the five odorants acetic acid (sour), 3-methylbutanal (malty), 3-methylbutanoic acid, phenylacetaldehyde, and 2-methylbutanal (malty). In addition, another 19 aroma compounds showed OAVs > 1. To establish their contribution to the overall aroma of the cocoa powder, these 24 compounds were added to a reconstructed cocoa matrix in exactly the same concentrations as they occurred in the cocoa powder. The matrix was prepared from deodorized cocoa powder, which was adjusted to 20% fat content using deodorized cocoa butter. The overall sensory evaluation of this aroma recombinate versus the cocoa powder clearly indicated that the 24 compounds represented the typical sweet, cocoa-like odor of the real sample.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5521-5529
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of agricultural and food chemistry
Issue number15
StatePublished - 26 Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Aroma extract dilution analysis
  • Aroma recombination
  • Cocoa powder
  • Sensomics
  • Stable isotope dilution assay


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