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Chemistry and Technology of Flavors and Fragrances. Edited by David J. Rowe

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B. J. Holley and B. E. Eaton (Chapter 8).
Natural enzymes that are products
of biological evolution usually catalyze
a given reaction with high specificity
and enantioselectivity. While they are
perfectly compatible to perform their
physiological role, their activity and stability are often ill-suited for industrial
purposes. M. T. Reetz describes highthroughput approaches to the design of
enzymes with tailored enantioselectivity
as valuable tools for the production of
(Chapter 9). In Chapter 10, D. Tomandl
and A. Schwienhorst describe a computer program that “reverse translates”
a desired target set of amino acids in
order to enhance the identification of
molecules with desired properties in a
huge background of nonfunctional molecules in a particular library. The
enzymes, proteins, and catalytically
active biomolecules generated by the
techniques of directed evolution are of
great interest for commercialization by
the biotechnological industry. Therefore, legal protection of methods, techniques, and materials is of great importance in this research field. In this context, Chapter 13 (written by M. Leimkhler and H. W. Meyers) provides a
researcher in the field with a basic
understanding of the major patenting
aspects and practical guidelines needed
to protect an invention.
This hard-back book (accompanied
by supplementary material on CDROM for Chapters 10, 11, and 12),
with a convenient subject index, is
truly a highly practical handbook, a
“must have” for any laboratory practicing directed evolution of proteins, and
a methodological “cookbook” of high
Nediljko Budisa
Max-Planck-Institut fr Biochemie
Junior Research Group “Molecular
Martinsried (Germany)
Chemistry and Technology of
Flavors and Fragrances
Edited by David J.
Rowe. Blackwell
Publishing, Oxford
2005. 352 pp.,
£ 95.00.—ISBN
Following the award of the 2004 Nobel
Prize in physiology or medicine to R.
Axel and L. B. Buck for their discoveries of odorant receptors and the organization of the olfactory system, this is
perfect timing to publish a book on
Chemistry and Technology of Flavors
and Fragrances. That is all the more
valid since the book is intended to give
a general introduction to the chemistry
of aroma compounds to readers who
are less familiar with this area, for example, graduate students or scientists from
other sectors of industry. The monograph is divided into 13 chapters, covering different topics that are specific to
the flavor and fragrance industry. As it
is the work of different authors, the
quality of the content varies from one
chapter to another. Therefore, the
reader may want to consult individual
parts of the book, rather than reading
it through in one session.
The conception of the book is mainly
based on molecular structures, and some
basic knowledge of organic chemistry is
required to understand the different
aspects. The most general chapter
(Chapter 4) covers aroma chemicals
composed of carbon, hydrogen, and
oxygen, which represents most of the
compounds used in the flavor and fragrance industry. The various classes of
compounds are arranged according to
their functional groups, with brief statements of their origins and preparation,
some olfactory characteristics, their
uses, and some problems that may be
encountered with them. The chapter is
informative and reads fluently, but
unfortunately remains quite superficial.
Additional references for further reading could have completed this overview.
2005 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
Besides the classification of compounds according to their chemical
functionalities, flavors and fragrances
are often grouped into families with similar olfactory properties. Good examples
of such a group are the musk compounds, which are didactically well
described in Chapter 7. Structures are
presented in their historical context,
and the evolution of new areas is indicated. The citation of some perfume
brands in which typical musks are commercialized makes a link to the real
world of fine perfumery. The chapter
also discusses some attempts that have
been made concerning the rational
design of odorants based on structure–
activity relationships. Another author
(Chapter 11) describes the design of fragrances based on the comparison of
their vibrational spectra. This approach
is in contradiction to the latest knowledge of chemoreception, the importance
of which has been highlighted by the
Nobel Prize award mentioned above.
The monograph puts a lot of emphasis on flavor chemicals, as shown by a
series of chapters covering, among
others, sulfur compounds and pyrazines.
One of the chapters gives an overview
on the generation of flavors in food
during cooking or fermentation processes (Chapter 3). The large number of
references given makes this chapter a
good starting point for further reading.
Another author discusses the chemistry
of sulfur compounds by evaluating the
main advantages and problems of some
key reactions, illustrated by a number
of well-selected concrete examples
(Chapter 6). Yet another chapter (Chapter 8) describes the most important
processes that are the basis for natural
flavorings, and gives various examples
of their preparation. It also defines
basic terms such as “natural” and “soft
The book also contains a chapter on
the world of taste and sensations (such
as tingling, cooling, bitterness, or astringency) and the interaction of molecules
with receptors giving a biological signal
(Chapter 9). This mainly structurally
based chapter is written from an organic
chemists point of view, and as such it
offers a good first introduction to this
topic, although the concept of the
tongue map is by now outdated.
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2005, 44, 3649 – 3651
Analytical techniques to identify
aroma chemicals, some legal aspects,
and a brief history of flavors and fragrances are also discussed. Two wellwritten and informative chapters covering diverse technical aspects of flavor
and fragrance applications conclude
the book.
However, the strong focus on flavor
chemicals results in a considerable
amount of repetition in different parts
of the book, sometimes even within
one and the same chapter; an example
is the formation of furaneol from rhamnose and proline (Chapter 8). That comment applies especially to the chapter
on the stability of aroma chemicals
(Chapter 10), which treats many aspects
that are also discussed elsewhere, such
Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2005, 44, 3649 – 3651
as some sulfur compounds, flavor precursors, or different encapsulation techniques.
Unfortunately, a multitude of errors
in structural formulas and compound
names (Chapters 4 and 8), general sloppiness, and items missing from the keyword index (which, for example, lists
“The Rolling Stones” but not “steam
distillation” or “bleach”) make this
book an extremely unreliable reference
source. Some topics that are probably
not very helpful for an introduction to
flavor or fragrance science are the discussions on the precise definition of heterocycles, the extensive listings of molecules with their olfactory properties and
FEMA numbers, or even descriptions of
detailed original research results, to cite
some examples. One of the authors has
copied word-for-word an entire previous
publication as a part of his chapter.
The uneven quality of the chapters
and the numerous errors in text and figures are the main problems of the book.
As excellent reviews on flavor and fragrance chemistry are already available,
this monograph can only be partially
recommended as an introduction to the
Andreas Herrmann
Firmenich SA
Corporate R&D Division
Geneva (Switzerland)
DOI: 10.1002/anie.200585283
2005 Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim
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chemistry, flavor, technology, edited, fragrances, david, rowe
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