Over the centuries, oak wood has been used in the maturation process of alcoholic beverages imparting aroma and flavor notes. Whereas several studies have dealt with the impact of oak wood on the chemical composition of, for example, wine aroma, only limited information is available on the odorant composition of unmodified and raw oak wood itself. To close this gap, a combination of human sensory and chemo-analytical techniques was applied for the elucidation of the chemical composition of oak odor, comprising extraction of the volatile fraction of oak wood by means of solvent-assisted flavor evaporation (SAFE) and subsequent mild concentration of the distillate. Odor extract dilution analysis (OEDA), which is based on gas chromatography-olfactometry (GC-O), was then applied for the targeted characterization of the odor-active compounds. Overall, a total of 97 odorants was identified via gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/olfactometry (GC-MS/O) and heart-cut two-dimensional gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/olfactometry (2D-GC-MS/O). The majority of these odorants comprised a series of terpenes, mainly mono- and sesquiterpenes, aldehydes, acids, and lactones, as well as a number of odorants containing a phenolic core moiety. Several odorants are reported here for the first time as volatile organic compounds in oak wood. Identification of the molecular composition of oak wood odor helps to establish a better understanding of the distinctive smell of oak wood, and offers the basis for unveiling its potential effects on humans when being exposed to oak wood smell in daily life.
Volatile Odor extract dilution analysis (OEDA) Gas chromatography olfactometry (GC-O) Heart-cut two-dimensional gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/olfactometry Odorant
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The authors would like to thank the sensory panelists from Fraunhofer IVV. We would also like to thank the Staedtler foundation for financial support of this study.
Staedtler foundation provided financial support of this study.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The study was conducted in agreement with the Declaration of Helsinki. The study (registration number 180_16B) was approved by the Ethical Committee of the Medical Faculty, Friedrich-Alexander Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. Informed consent was obtained from all subjects participating in the study.
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