Current Status of Meat Flavor

  • Sharon L. Melton


Meat flavor consists of the basic tastes, including the “umami” taste, and hundreds of odiferous volatiles. Of more than 1,000 flavor volatiles identified in meat, only a few have “meaty” aromas. The precursors of most meaty volatiles include cysteine and the reducing sugars which react via the browning reaction (BR). Two volatiles, 2-methyl-3-furanthioland bis(2methyl-3-furyl) disulfide, identified in beef, chicken, pork and tuna, are recognized as meat flavor impact compounds. The cooking methods also affect the types of meat volatiles formed with a large number of pyrazines being formed during grilling and frying. Also, the unsaturated fatty acids of cell phospholipids, after oxidation, react with BR products to form different volatiles, some of which may contribute to meat species flavor differences. However, precursors or volatile compounds present in raw meat from different species also contribute to these flavor differences


Maillard Reaction Maillard Reaction Product Flavor Dilution Aroma Extract Dilution Analysis Meat Species 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Caporaso, F.; Sink, J.D.; Dimick, P.S.; Mussinan, C.J.; Sanderson, A. Volatile flavor constituents of ovine adipose tissue. J. Agric. Food Chem 1977, 25 1230–1233CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cerny, C.; Grosch, W. Evaluation of potent odorants in roasted beef by aroma extract dilution analysis. Z. Lebensm. Unters. Forsch 1992, 94, 1–4Google Scholar
  3. Ching, J.C-Y. Volatile Flavor Compounds from Beef and Beef Constituents Ph.D. Thesis; University of Missouri; 1979Google Scholar
  4. Chou, C.C.; Wu, C.M The volatile compounds of stewed pork. Research Report 285. Food Industry Research and Development Institute, Hsinchu, Taiwan, 1983. Cited in Ho, C-T.;Oh. Y-C.; Bae-Lee, M. 1994. The flavour of pork. In Flavor of Meat and Meat Products; Shahidi, F., Ed.; Blackie Academic and Professional: Glasgow; 1994; Chapter 3, p 39Google Scholar
  5. Coppock, B.M.; MacLeod, G. The effect of ageing on the sensory and chemical properties of boiled beef aroma. J. Sci. Food Agric 1977, 28: 206–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Crouse, J.D.; Ferrel, C.L.; Field, R.A; Busboom, J.R.; Miller, G.J. The relationship of fatty acid composition and carcass characteristics to meat flavor in lamb. J. Food Qual 1982, 5 203–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. de Rijke, D.; van Dort, J.M.; Boelens, H.. Shigematsu variation of the Maillard reaction, In Flavor’81;.Schreier, P. Ed.; de Gruyter: Berlin; 1981; pp 417–431Google Scholar
  8. Dimoglo, A.S.; Gorbachov, M.Y.; Bersuker, I.B.; Greni, A.I.; Vysotskaya, L.E.; Stepanova O.V.; Lukash, E.Y. 1988. Structural and electronic origin of meat odour of organic heteratomic compounds, Nahrung 1988, 32 461–473CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Dwivedi, B.K. Meat flavor. CRC Crit. Rev. Food Technol. 1975 5, 487–535Google Scholar
  10. Farmer, L.J.; Mottram D.S. Lipid-maillard interactions in the formation of volatile aroma compounds. In Trends in Flavour Research; Maarse H.; vander Heij, D.G, Eds.; Elsevier Science, B.V.; 1994; pp 313–326Google Scholar
  11. Farmer, L.J.; Mottram, D.S.; F.B. Whitfield. Volatile compounds produced in Maillard reactions involving cyste-ine, ribose and phosholipid. J. Sci. Food Agric 1989, 49 347–368CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Farmer, L.J.; Whitfield, F.B. 1993. Some compounds formed from the interaction of lipid in the Maillard interaction. In Proceedings Progress in Flavor Precursor Studies. Wursburg, Germany ed. P. Schreier, Ed.; Allured: Carol Stream, IL.; 1993; pp 387–390Google Scholar
  13. Frankel, E.N. Volatile lipid oxidation products. Prog. Lipid Res 1982, 22 1–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Gasser, U.; Grosch, W. Identification of volatile flavour compounds with high aroma values from cooked beef. Z. Lebensm. (inters. Forsch 1988, 186 489–494Google Scholar
  15. Gasser, U.; Grosch, W. Primary odorants of chicken broth. Z. Lebensm. Unters. Forsch 1990, 190 3–8CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gray, J.I.; Pearson, A.M. Lipid-derived off-flavours in meat--formation and inhibition, In Flavor of Meat and Meat Products, F. Shahidi, Ed.; Blackie Academic and Professional: Glasgow; 1994; Chapter 7, pp 116–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Grosch, W.; Sen, A.; Guth, H.; Ziler-Hilgart, G. Quantitation of aroma compounds using a stable isotope diluted assay. In Flavor Science and Technology, Bessiere, Y; Thomas, A.F., Eds; John Wiley & Sons: Chichester, UK; 1990; pp 191–194Google Scholar
  18. Guadagni, D.G., Buttery, R.G., and Tumbaugh, J.G. 1972. Odour thresholds and similarity ratings of some potato chip components. J. Sci. Food Agric 1972, 23 1435–1444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hartman, G.J; Carlin, J.T.; Hwang, S.S.; Bao, Y.; Tang, J.; Ho, C.T. Identification of 3,5- diisobutyl-1,2,4-trithio-lane and 2-isobutyl-3,5-diisopropylpyridine in fried chicken flavor. J. Food Sci. 1984, 49, 1398–1400 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hartman, G.J.; Jin, Q.Z.; Collins, G.J.; Lee, K.N.; Ho, C.-T.; Chang, S.S. Nitrogen-containing heterocyclic corn-pounds identified in the volatile flavor constituents of roasted beef. J. Agric. Food Chem 1983,31,1030–1033CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Henderson, S.K.; Nawar, W.W. Thermal interaction of linoleic acid and its esters with valine. J. Amer. Oil Chem. Soc 1981, 58 632–635CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ho, C.-T.; Carlin, J.T. Formation and aroma characteristics of heterocyclic compounds in foods. In Flavor Chemistry Trends and Developments. Teranishi, R.; Buttery, R.G.; Shahidi, F. Eds.; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC; 1989; pp 92Google Scholar
  23. Ho, C.-T.; Hartman, G.J. Formation of oxazolines and oxazoles in Strecker degradation of DL- alanine and L-cysteine with 2,3-butanedione. J. Agric. Food Chem 1982, 30 793–794CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ho, C-T.; Jin, Q.Z. Aroma properties of some alkylthiazoles. Perfumer & Flavorist 1984, 9(6) 15–18Google Scholar
  25. Ho, C.-T.; Oh, Y.-C; Bae-Lee, M. 1994. The flavour of pork. In Flavor of Meat and Meat Products F. Shahidi, Ed.; Blackie Academic and Professional: Glasgow; 1994; Chapter 3, pp 38–51Google Scholar
  26. Hoffman, T.; Schieberle, P. Evaluation of key odorants in a thermally treated solution of ribose and cysteine by aroma extract dilution techniques. J. Agric. Food Chem. 1995, 43 2187–2194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hornstein, I.; Crowe, P.F. Flavor studies on beef and pork. J. Agric. Food Chem. 1960, 8, 494–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Hornstein, I.; Crowe, P.F. Meat flavor: lamb. J. Agric. Food Chem 1963. 11 147–149CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hsu, C.-M.; Peterson, R.J.; Jin, Q.Z.; Ho, C.-T.; Chang, S.S. Characterization of new volatile compounds in the neutral fraction of roast beef flavor. J. Food Sci 1982, 47 2068–2069CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Huang, T.-C.; Bruechert, L.J.; Hartman, T.G.; Rosen, R.T.; Ho, C.-T. Effect of lipids and carbohydrates on thermal generation of volatiles from commercial zein. J Agric. Food Chem 1987, 35, 985–990CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Igene, J.O.; Pearson, A.M. 1979. Role of phospholipid and triglycerides in warmed-over flavor development in meat model systems. J. Food Sei 1979, 44 1285–1290CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kato, H.; Nishimura, T. Taste components and conditioning of beef, pork, and chicken. In Umami: One of the Basic Tastes Kawamura Y.; Kare, M.R., Eds; Marcel Dekker: New York; 1987Google Scholar
  33. Kato, S.; Kurata, T.; Fujimaki, M. Volatile compounds produced by the reaction of L-cysteine or L-cystine with carbonyl compounds. Agric. Biol. Chem 1973, 37 539–544CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Kawamura, Y. Umami: one of the basic tastes. Food Technol. Inter. Europe 1990, pp 151–155Google Scholar
  35. Kuninaka, A. Taste and flavour enhancers. In Flavor Research: Recent Advances. Teranishi, R.; Flath, R.A., Eds; Marcel Dekker: New York; 1981; pp 305–353Google Scholar
  36. Lee, J.-H. Levels of fatty acids, tocopherols, and flavor volatiles in meat from lambs fed treated ground full fat soybean supplements M.S. Thesis; University of Tennessee: Knoxville; 1997Google Scholar
  37. Maarse, H.; Visscher, C.A. Volatile Compounds in Food-Qualitative and Quantitative Data TNO-CIVO: Zeist, The Netherlands; 1989Google Scholar
  38. MacLeod, G. The flavor of beef. In Flavor of Meat and Meat Products Shahidi, F., Ed.; Blackie Academic and Professional: Glasgow; 1994; Chapter 2, pp 4–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. MacLeod, G.; Seyyedain-Ardebili, M. Natural and simulated meat flavors (with particular reference to beef). CRC Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr 1981, 14 309–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Macy, R.L.; Naumann, H.D.; Bailey, M.E. Water-soluble flavor and odor precursors of meat. II. Effects of heating on amino nitrogen constituents and carbohydrates in lyophilized diffusates from aqueous extracts of beef, pork, and lamb. J. Food Sci 1964, 29 142–148CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Maga, J.A. Pyrazines in foods. CRC Grit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr 1982, 16 1–115CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Min, D.B.S.; Ina, K.; Peterson, R.J.; Chang, S.S. Preliminary identification of volatile flavor compounds in the neutral fraction of roast beef. J. Food Sei 1979, 44 639–642CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Moody, W.G. 1983. Beef flavor--a review. Food Technol. 1983, 37(5), 227–232Google Scholar
  44. Mottram, D.S. 1985. The effect of cooking conditions on the formation of volatile heterocyclic compounds in pork. J. Sci. Food Agric 1985, 36 377–382CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Mottram, D.S.; Edwards, R.A. The role of triglycerides and phospholipids in the aroma of cooked beef. J. Sci. Food Agric 1983, 34 517–522CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mottram, D.S.; Salter, L.J. Flavor formation in meat-related Maillard systems containing phospholipids. In Thermal Generation ofAromas. Parliament, T.H.; McGorrin, R.J.; Ho, C-T., Eds.; American Chemical Society: Washington DC; 1989; pp 442–451CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Mottram, D.S.; Leseigneur, A. The effect of pH on the formation of aroma volatiles in meat-like Mail lard systems. In Flavor Science and Technology. Bessiere, V.; Thomas, A.F. Eds.;Wiley: Chichester, U.K.; 1990; pp 121–124Google Scholar
  48. Mottram, D.S.; Madruga, M.S. 1994. The role of inosine monophosphate as a precursor of meat aroma. In Trends in Flavour Research. Maarse, M.; van der Heij, D.G., Eds.; Elsevier Science B.V.; 1994; pp 339–344Google Scholar
  49. Mulders, E.J. Volatile compounds from the non-enzymic browning reaction of cysteine/cystine-ribose system. Z. Lebensm. Unters. Forsch 1973, 152 193–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Nishimura, O.; Mihara, S.; Shibamoto, T. Compounds produced by the reaction of 2-hydroxy-3-methyl-2-cy-clopenten-1-one with ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. J. Agric. Food Chem 1980, 28 39–43CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Noleau, I.; Toulemonde, B. Volatile components of roasted-chicken fat. Lebensm-Wins. U. - Technol 1987, 2037–41Google Scholar
  52. Ohloff, G.; Flament I. Heterocyclic constituents of meat aroma. Heterocycles 1978, 11 663–695CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Ohloff, G.; Flament, I. The role of heteroatomic substances in the aroma compounds of foodstuffs. Fortschr. Chem. Org. Naturst. 1979, 36, 231. Cited in Heath, H.B.; Reineccius, G. Flavor Chemistry and Technol-ogy. The Avi Publishing Co.: Westport, CT.; 1986; pp 84–85Google Scholar
  54. Ohnishi, S.; Shibamoto, T. 1984. Volatile compounds rom heated beef fat and beef fat with glycine. J. Agric. Food Chem 1984, 32 987–992CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Purchas, R.W.; Johnson, C.B.; Birch, E.J.; Winger, R.J.; Hagyard, C.J.; Keogh, R.G. Flavor studies with beef and lamb. Massey University, Palmerston North, N.Z; 1986. Cited in Young, O.A.; Reid, D.H.; Smith, M.E.; Braggins, T.J. Sheepmeat odour and flavor. In Flavor of Meat and Meat Products. Shahidi, F., Ed.; Blackie Academic and Professional: Glasgow; 1994; Chapter 5. pp 71–97Google Scholar
  56. Reineccius, G.A.; Liardon, R. 1985. The use of charcoal traps and microwave desorption for the analysis of head-space volatiles above heated thiamin solution. In Topics in Flavour Research, Berger P.R.G., Nitz, S; Schreier, P., Eds.; Eichorn: Marzling-Hangenhan; 1994; pp 125–136Google Scholar
  57. Roedel, W.; Kruse, H.P. Present problems of meat aroma research. Nahrung 1980, 24 129–139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Scanlan, R.A.; Kayser, S.G.; Libbery, L.M.; Morgan, M.E. Identification of volatile compounds from heated Lcysteine-HCI-D-glucose. J. Agric. Food Chem 1973, 21 673–675CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Shahidi, F. 1994. Flavor of meat and meat products-an overview. In Flavor of Meat and Meat Products. Shahidi, Ed.; Blackie Academic and Professional: Glasgow; 1994; Chapter 1, pp 1–3Google Scholar
  60. Sheldon, S.A.; Russell, G.F.; Shibamoto, T. Photochemical and thermal activation of model Maillard reaction systems. In Amino-Carbonyl Reactions in Food and Biological Systems. Fujimake M.; Namiki, M.; Kato, H., Eds., Elsevier Science: New York; 1986; pp 145–154Google Scholar
  61. Shi, H.; Ho, C.-T. 1994. The flavour of poultry meat. In Flavor of Meat and Meat Products, Shahidi, F., Ed.; Blackie Academic and Professional: Glasgow; 1994; Chapter 4, pp 52–70Google Scholar
  62. Shibamoto, T. Heretocyclic compounds found in cooked meats. J. Agric. Food Chem 1980, 27 127–243Google Scholar
  63. Shu, C.-K; Hagedorn, M.L.; Mookherjee, B.D; Ho, C.-T. pH effect on the volatile components in the thermal degradation of cysteine. J. Agric. Food Chem 1985a, 33. 446–448CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Shu, C.-K.; Mookherjee, B.D.; Bondarovich, H.A.; Hagedorn, M.L. Characterization of bacon odor and other flavor components from the reaction of isovaleraldehyde and ammonium sulfide. J. Agric. Food Chem 1985b, 33,130–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Specht, K.; Baltes, W. Identification of volatile flavor compounds with high aroma values from shallow-fried beef. J. Agric. Food Chem 1995, 52 2246–2253Google Scholar
  66. Takken, H.J.; van der Linde, L.M.; de Valois, P.J.; van Dort, H.M.; Boelens, M. Reaction products of 2,3-dicarbonyl compounds, aldehydes, hydrogen sulfide and ammonia. In Phenolic, Sulfur and Nitrogen Compounds in Food Flavors Charalambous, G.; Katz I., Eds; American Chemical Society: Washington DC; 1976; pp 114–121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Tang, J.; Jin, Q.Z.; Shen. G.-H.; Ho, C.-T.;Chang, S.S. Isolation and identification of volatile compounds from fried chicken. J. Agric. Food Chem 1983, 31 1287–1292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Tressl, R.; Helak, B.; Grunewald, H.-G.; Silwar, R. Formation of flavour components from proline, hydroxyproline and sulphur-containing amino acids. In Colloque International sur les Aromes Alimentaires. Adda, J.; Richard, H., Eds.; Tech. Doc. Lay.: Paris; 1983; pp 207–230Google Scholar
  69. Tressl, R.; Helak, B.; Martin, N.; Kersten, E. Formation of amino acid specific Maillard products and their contribution to thermally generated aromas. In Thermal Generation ofAromas. Parliament, T.H.; McGorrin, R.J.; Ho, C-T., Eds.; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC; 1989; pp 156–171CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Ulrich, F.; Grosch, W. Identification of the most intense volatile flavour compounds formed during oxidation of linoleic acid. Z. Lebensm. Unters. Forsch 1987, 184 277–282CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. van den Ouweland, G.A.M.; Demote, E.P; Enggist, P. Process Meat flavor development and the Maillard reaction. In Thermal Generation ofAromas; Parliament, T.H.; McGorrin, R.J.; Ho, C-T, Eds.; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC; 1989; pp 433–442CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. van Laack, R.L.J.M.; Spencer, E. Influence of swine breed on fatty acid composition of phospholipids in longissimus muscle. Submitted to J. Anim. Sci. 1998Google Scholar
  73. Vernin, G.; Parkanyi, C. Mechanisms of formation of heterocylic compounds in Maillard and pyrolysis reactions. In The Chemistry of Heterocyclic Flavouring and Aroma Compounds Vernin, G., Ed,; Ellis Horwood: Chichester; 1982; pp 151Google Scholar
  74. Wenham, L.M. Studies in ewe mutton quality-palatability of beef and mutton patties. N. Z. J. Agric. Res 1974, 17: 203–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Werkhoff, P.; Emberger, R.; Guntert, M.; Kopsel, M. Isolation and characterisation of volatile sulfur-containing meat flavor components in model systems. In Thermal Generation ofAromas Parliament, T.H.; McGorrin, R.J.; C.-T. Ho, C.T., Eds.; American Chemical Society: Washington DC; 1989; pp 460–478Google Scholar
  76. Werkhoff, P.; Bruning, J.; Emberger, R.; Guntert, M.; Kopsel, M.; Kuhn, W.; Surburg, H. Isolation and characterisation of volatile sulfur-containing meat flavor components in model systems. J. Agric. Food Chem 1990, 38 777–791CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Whitfield, F.B.; Mottram, D.S.; Brock, S.; Puckey, D.J.; Salter, L.J. Effect of phospholipid on the formation of volatile heterocyclic compounds in heated aqueous solutions of amino acids and ribose. J. Sei. Food Agric 1988, 42 261–272CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. Whitfield, F.B. Volatiles from interactions of Maillard reactions and lipids. Crit. Rev. Food Sci. Nutr 1992, 31 1–58CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Wilson, R.A.; Mussinan, C.J.; Katz, I.; Sanderson, A. Isolation and identification of some sulfur chemicals present in pressure-cooked beef. J. Agric. Food Chem 1974a, 21 873–876CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Wilson, R.A.; Vock, M.H.; Katz, I.; Shuster, E.J.. Brit. Pat. 1,364–747. 1974bGoogle Scholar
  81. Withycombe, D.A.; Mussinan, C.J. Identification of 2-methyl-3-furanthiol in the steam distillate from canned tuna fish. J. Food Sci 1988, 53 658–659CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Wong, E.; Mabrouk, A.F. Isolation of precursors of mutton odor. J. Agric. Food Chem. 1979, 23, 1415–1416CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Wong, E.; Nixon, L.N.; Johnson, C.B. 1974. Volatile medium chain fatty acids and mutton flavor. J Agric. Food Chem 1974, 23 495–498CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Young, O.A., Reid, D.H., Smith, M.E., and Braggins, T.J. Sheepmeat odour and flavor. In Flavor of Meat and Meat Products. Shahidi, F., Ed.; Blackie Academic and Professional: Glasgow; 1994; Chapter 5, pp 71–97CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sharon L. Melton
    • 1
  1. 1.Dept. of Food Science and TechnologyThe University of TennesseeKnoxvilleUSA

Personalised recommendations