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Profiling popcorn's perfume.

A German chemist has identified the most alluring scents in freshly popped popcorn and discovered that this snack contains aromatic hints of many other favorite foods.

Peter Schieberle of the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt fur Lebensmittlechemie in Garching froze about a pound of popcorn in liquid nitrogen and ground it to a fine powder, which he soaked in a solvent overnight. He then separated out the various compounds and compared their compositions and odors with those of known substances. Of the 23 key odor compounds he identified, four ranked as the strongest in the popcorn's bouquet: one fatty component, one with a spicy aroma, one with a roasty and popcorn-like scent, and one with a roasty, coffee-like scent.

Schieberle, who reports his findings in the June JOURNAL OF AGRICULTURAL AND FOOD CHEMISTRY, suggests that one of these, 2-acetyl-1-pyrroline, imparts the touch of popcorn odor in cooked rice and bread crust. The compounds may form during cooking when the amino acids proline and ornithine react with breakdown products of sugar, he says.

His analysis revealed two other roasty odors that seem important to popcorn's appeal. In addition, Schieberle picked up fragrances reminiscent of cloves, mushrooms, caramel, vanilla, roast potatoes, cooked apples and fried fat.
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Title Annotation:aromatic substances in popcorn
Publication:Science News
Date:Jul 6, 1991
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