Studies on the Interaction of Flavor Compounds with Non-Volatile
Flavor and aroma are important factors in influencing food and beverage (i.e., wine) choices. However, knowledge of flavor concentration alone is not sufficient to determine the perceived sensory aroma intensity. This is due to the presence of interactions between flavors and nonvolatile food components which can alter flavor volatility and release. We used NMR techniques to study the mechanisms of binding between flavor compounds and polyphenols, the main nonvolatile constituents of wine. Our results showed that the interactions are dependent on the structure of both the flavor compounds and the polyphenols. The interactions are principally due to hydrophobic interactions between the aromatic rings of the flavors and the polyphenols. However hydrogen-bonding effects help to stabilize the complex and enhance the specificity. By understanding the mechanisms of these interactions and their effects on flavor perception we will be better able to optimize grape and wine composition and winemaking procedures to improve wine flavor.