Differentiating Natural from Synthetic

February 10/Ramat Yishay, Israel/Food Weekly Focus -- "The authenticity of fruit flavors in foods and beverages is of great importance for the producers of jams, ice creams, soft drinks, yogurt, etc. Regulations regarding the authenticity of flavors in foods and beverages will help consumers choose the foods best suitable for them," scientists in Israel assert.

"In order to enhance this goal, we have used headspace-solid phase microextraction stereoselective gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (HS-SPME stereoselective GC-MS) to determine the enantiomeric ratios of chiral flavor and fragrance indicators present in the raw materials and in the products: gamma-Decalactone in peach, nectarine, strawberry, passion fruit and apricot, as well as (E)-alpha-ionone in raspberry and linalool and linalyl acetate in bergamot, were used as indicators in stereoselective analysis of commercial foods and beverages.

"In the fresh fruit aromas, only one enantiomer was predominant or enantiomerically pure. In many commercial fruit products, we detected racemic mixtures of the above-mentioned chiral flavor compounds," wrote U. Ravid and colleagues, Agriculture Research Organization.

The researchers concluded, "The results suggest that HS-SPME stereoselective GC-MS could be a useful tool for differentiating natural flavor compounds from synthetic ingredients in quality control of foods and beverages."

Ravid and colleagues published their study in Flavour and Fragrance Journal ("Authenticity Assessment of Natural Fruit Flavour Compounds in Foods and Beverages by Auto-HS-SPME Stereoselective GC-MS." Flavour and Fragrance Journal, 2010;25(1):20-27).

For more information, contact U. Ravid, Agr Res Organization, Newe Yaar Res Center, POB 1021, IL-30095 Ramat Yishay, Israel.

From the February 15, 2010, Prepared Foods E-dition