Study identifies what makes chocolate smell so good
Published : Thursday, 9 May, 2019 at 5:42 PM Count : 804
The cause of dark chocolate's mouth-watering smell has finally been discovered as scientists pinpoint the exact chemicals responsible for the aroma.
A host of chemicals, including one which also gives roses their unique fragrance, is the guilty party, according to a new study.
Roasted cocoa beans are rich in beta-ionone, also found in perfume and essential oils, which contributes to its scent.
The breakthrough explains why the smell of chocolate is so alluring - and could lead to even tastier snacks being custom made in future, suggests the research.
Now a German team has identified the substances that make up this heavenly aroma - opening the door to unique 'designer chocolates'.
They bought two types of dark chocolate, each with a distinctive aroma, from a local shop.
Chemicals within the smell of chocolate were analysed using a technique called extract and stable isotope dilution analyses.
it found various volatile compounds are directly involved responsible for the smell.
These are chemicals that transform into gases easily at room temperature - and are inhaled along with the air we breathe.
That brings them into contact with more than 900 receptors in the upper half of the nostril - making us crave chocolate.
Some, such as beta-ionone, have never been identified in chocolate before.
Using the data, the researchers then reconstructed the aromas of both chocolate varieties. These smelled very similar to the original bars, a trained sensory panel decided.
The findings, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, may help manufacturers control and improve the flavour of chocolate bars.
Dr Carolin Seyfried, of the Technical University of Munich, said: 'Chocolate is one of the most-consumed treats around the world.
'Flavour is more than just what the tongue tastes - smell also plays a key role, with many compounds working together to create a unique sensory experience.
'Although nearly 600 compounds have been identified in chocolate over the last century, only a fraction of them are known to contribute to the aroma.'
Previous studies have identified compounds responsible for the scent of milk and dark chocolates.
But it has been unclear how much of each component is needed to make something smell specifically like dark chocolate.
So Dr Seyfried and co author Dr Michael Granvogl decided to build the scent from scratch for the first time.
They said: 'In summary, this study is the ﬁrst to successfully characterise the key aroma compounds in dark chocolate.
'Owing to its production with fermentation and roasting steps, the aroma of chocolate and cocoa products is very complex, containing a relatively high number of odorants, and thus more than 25 compounds were needed to simulate the overall aroma.'
The researchers were funded by the Research Association of the German Food Industry through the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy.-Daily Mail