The role of cysteine and cysteine-S conjugates as odour precursors in the flavour and fragrance industry


Volatile sulphur compounds are important odorants in the flavour and fragrance industries. Recent developments in the field have reinvigorated sulphur compound research, particularly with regard to the precursor compounds of volatile thiols. The present review concentrates on the role of cysteine and cysteine-S conjugates as precursor compounds for a variety of aromas and examines the chemical and enzymatic pathways of degradation and biotransformation. Cysteine is an important source of sulphur in flavour chemistry and may be degraded into hydrogen sulphide, which can further participate in other reactions. Direct reactions of cysteine and the pathways particular to various flavours and fragrances are discussed, with an emphasis on the precursor compounds cysteine-S conjugates. The importance of cysteine precursors in plants, including onion, wine, passion fruit, bitter orange, asparagus and bell pepper and the formation of natural scents in cats and humans are discussed. Copyright © 2008 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Publication Title

Flavour and Fragrance Journal