What does wood smell like? Characterization of odorants in wood
Wood is a material humans come into contact with every day, e.g., in the form of furniture and building materials, products of daily use such as pencils and toys, or secondary products that are derived from wood such as paper and cardboard. Whereas general emissions of volatile organic compounds from wood are well known, only limited information is available on the odour-active substances. The present study therefore aimed at specifically elucidating the odorous constituents of wood. To gain an overview of the odorants emitted by wood, two different wood species were investigated. Targeted odorant analysis requires specialized techniques combining modern odorant analytical tools with human-sensory evaluation. Following this concept, the wood samples were first evaluated by human sensory analysis. The odorants were then characterized by gas chromatography-olfactometry (GC-O) and ranked according to their odour potency via aroma extract dilution analysis (AEDA). Using this approach, more than 60 odorous substances were detected and the most potent odorants were identified by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/olfactometry (GC-MS) and two-dimensional gas chromatography-mass spectrometry/olfactometry (2D-GC-MS/O).