Document Detail

The elusiveness of coffee aroma: new insights from a non-empirical approach.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  12720397     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Aroma is central to a pleasurable eating/drinking experience but is one of the most labile components of food. Coffee is an outstanding example. Attempts to avoid or control aroma degradation are often frustrated by ignorance of the microscopic mechanisms that are responsible for it. One of the processes most frequently invoked is radical formation, yet the identity of the radicals and their involvement in aroma degradation are poorly understood at the molecular level. Here a step forward in the fundamental understanding of this complex problem is taken by identifying the most relevant radicals and their products using first-principles calculations. Over 100 radicals originating from key aroma compounds found in coffee and other foods have been studied and classified according to an unambiguous criterion: their thermodynamic stability relative to common radical sources. This classification scheme predicts that most aroma molecules are resistant to both peroxidation and attack from phenolic antioxidants but are unstable with respect to radicals such as .OH. Dimers--generated from radical reactions--were also considered, and the most volatile species, which may further contribute to coffee aroma degradation, were focused on. Those--which are very few indeed--that have this potential have been identified.
Lindsey J Munro; Alessandro Curioni; Wanda Andreoni; Chahan Yeretzian; Heribert Watzke
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of agricultural and food chemistry     Volume:  51     ISSN:  0021-8561     ISO Abbreviation:  J. Agric. Food Chem.     Publication Date:  2003 May 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-04-30     Completed Date:  2003-06-16     Revised Date:  2007-11-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0374755     Medline TA:  J Agric Food Chem     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  3092-6     Citation Subset:  IM    
IBM Research, Zurich Research Laboratory, 8803 Rüschlikon, Switzerland.
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MeSH Terms
Coffee / chemistry*
Drug Stability
Free Radicals / chemistry
Molecular Structure
Odors / analysis*
Phenols / analysis,  chemistry
Sulfhydryl Compounds / analysis,  chemistry
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Coffee; 0/Free Radicals; 0/Phenols; 0/Sulfhydryl Compounds

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