The aim of this study was to analyze the impact of the water content of wood on the concentrations of volatile compounds which can be extracted after heat treatments. Head Space-Solid Phase Micro Extraction Gas Chromatography coupled to Mass Spectrometry (HS-SPME GC-MS) has been used to compare the concentrations of six aroma compounds (vanillin, furfural, eugenol, guaïacol and cis- and trans-whisky lactones) in hydroalcoholic extracts of heated oak wood samples either previously soaked in hot water or not. Except for eugenol, concentrations of extracted aromas appeared to be lower in soaked woods than in dry woods for temperatures up to 200 °C. If a delaying effect of water could explain such overall lower extracted concentrations from soaked woods, a PCA analysis revealed that for the longer duration (25 min of heat treatment), the adsorbed water could promote a higher impact of furfural, eugenol and both whisky lactones on the composition of hydroalcoholic extracts, suggesting that alternative mechanisms of thermal modifications of the wood macromolecular network could exist at high temperatures in presence of adsorbed water.
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