Identification and origin of odorous sulfur compounds in cooked ham.

Food chemistry (2014-03-07)
Caroline Thomas, Frédéric Mercier, Pascal Tournayre, Jean-Luc Martin, Jean-Louis Berdagué

The aim of this work was to identify and gain further knowledge on the origin of sulfur compounds present in the volatile fraction of cooked ham, and on their role in the aroma of this product. To this end, we performed analyses by one- and two-dimensional gas chromatography coupled with mass spectrometry, and olfactometry. Among the odorant sulfur compounds identified, three furans present in trace amounts proved to have very intense odours responsible for the "meaty, cooked ham" notes of this pork product. They were 2-methyl-3-furanthiol, 2-methyl-3-(methyldithio)furan and bis(2-methyl-3-furyl) disulphide. Addition of thiamine or cysteine also enabled us to study the effect of these odour precursors on the formation of odorant furans during the cooking of ham. The results revealed a direct link between the thermal degradation of thiamine and the formation of these compounds. By contrast, addition of cysteine in the presence of fructose or xylose did not appreciably increase their production.

Product Number
Product Description

2-Methyl-3-furanthiol, ≥95%, FG
2-Methyl-3-furanthiol, technical grade
2-Ethylthiophene, analytical standard