Identification of odorous compounds in oak wood using odor extract dilution analysis and two-dimensional gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/olfactometry
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.