Solvent assisted flavour evaporation – a new and versatile technique for the careful and direct isolation of aroma compounds from complex food matrices
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A compact and versatile distillation unit was developed for the fast and careful isolation of volatiles from complex food matrices. In connection with a high vacuum pump (5×10–3 Pa), the new technique, designated solvent assisted flavour evaporation (SAFE), allows the isolation of volatiles from either solvent extracts, aqueous foods, such as milk or beer, aqueous food suspensions, such as fruit pulps, or even matrices with a high oil content. Application of SAFE to model solutions of selected aroma compounds resulted in higher yields from both solvent extracts or fatty matrices (50% fat) compared to previously used techniques, such as high vacuum transfer. Direct distillation of aqueous fruit pulps in combination with a stable isotope dilution analysis enabled the fast quantification (60 min including MS analysis) of compounds such as the very polar and unstable 4-hydroxy-2,5-dimethyl-3(2H)-furanone in strawberries (3.2 mg/kg) and tomatoes (340 μg/kg). Furthermore, the direct distillation of aqueous foods, such as beer or orange juice, gave flavourful aqueous distillates free from non-volatile matrix compounds.
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