Mango flavour compounds

Mangoes really have quite a rich flavour. Rich and complex, with plenty of subtleties. Despite this, they’re actually fairly easy to use in cooking. As it happens, the overall mango flavour is contributed to by a whole host of different volatile flavour compounds. These are the main ones. Some of these are a bit obscure, but I’ve given some possible food pairing options for what I could find…

  • 3-carene
    A rather unusual looking, fruity smelling terpene. 3-carene is found in the flavours of several herbs and spices, including angelica, anise, basil, bergamot, cinnamon, rosemary, sage and thyme. It’s also found in citrus fruits, such as lime and orange (particularly blood orange).
  • ethyl dodecanoate
    A long chain ester also known as ethyl laurate. Interestingly, it’s found in several alcoholic spirits, including cognac, malt whiskey and dark rum. It’s actually created by yeast, as the alcohol’s still being fermented.
  • hexyl hexanoate
    Found in apple peel and peaches.
  • methyl hexanoate
    A beautifully fruity ester, found in the flavours of passionfruit, papaya, kiwi fruit, soursop, oysters, pineapple, blue cheese, white wine, cider, cranberry, melon, olive, raspberry and strawberry!
  • geranyl acetate
    A floral smelling ester. Found in apple, apricot, bergamot, butterscotch, citrus fruits, corriander, pineapple, tomato, raspberry and rose. It’s also found in some rums.
  • χ-octalactone
  • χ-nonalactone
  • citronellol
    The main aroma compound in citronella, this chemical is also found in a few different types of fruit, including apple, apricot, peach, cherry, pineapple, raspberry and various citrus fruit. It’s also found in black tea and rose oil.
  • carvone
    A spicy smelling compound, carvone gives the bite to caraway seeds and dill, as well as being found in spearmint and (to a much lesser extent) peppermint. It’s also found in mandarin orange peel.
  • α-ionone
    Ionones are amongst a group of compounds known as rose ketones. Ionone contributes to the flavour of roses, raspberries, carrots, violets and certain red wines.
  • limonene
    As it’s name implies, limonene is a major aroma compound in lemons, as well as oranges.
  • myrcene
    Found in bay leaves and verbena.
  • β-phellandrene
    A peppery, slightly cistrussy smelling turpene, found in eucalyptus and water fennel.
  • α-terpineol / β-terpineol
    An alcohol, closely related to limonene.
  • toluene
    Wait… what? Toluene!?
  • benzaldehyde
    One of the main contributors to the aroma of almonds. It’s also found in apricots and cherries. What’s more, it’s closely related to toluene, which seems to make the previous chemical make more sense.
  • (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol
    Found in broccoli, sweet peppers and pumpkins.

Mango Image: Fir0002/Flagstaffotos

Published data: Narain & Galvão (2002)
Wow… There was an international Mango symposium? Cool.

About Invader Xan

Molecular astrophysicist, usually found writing frenziedly, staring at the sky, or drinking mojitos.
This entry was posted in Imported from Livejournal, molecular gastronomy and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Mango flavour compounds

  1. Pingback: Wzmacniający odporność koktajl mango-sosna ze spiruliną |

  2. Anonymous says:

    Mango Aromatherapy
    What causes the distinctive “Pine-sappy” flavour/aroma? It is all I can think of when I eat mangoes.

  3. invaderxan says:

    Yay for geeky inside jokes! :D

  4. invaderxan says:

    I guess you must be turning into an old chemist. I’m suitably impressed! :D
    As for 2-carene, I suppose it could be possible they missed it? I don’t really know much about GCMS, so I have no idea how sensitive it is to isomers (though on a related note, they don’t seem to mention if it’s R-limonene or S-limonene). Plus, I’ll admit I didn’t read the paper thoroughly. ;)

  5. invaderxan says:

    Apparently so. How bizarre!
    Mangoes = ♥

  6. invaderxan says:

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who loves the smell of solvents. :)
    Though I must say, I prefer the smell of ethyl acetate, personally…

  7. Toluene and benzaldehyde. How weird. (I drew mangoes on the label of the benzaldehyde bottle at work yesterday. Nobody’s going to get it but me.)

  8. 3-carene has a very non-specific “fresh” smell that doesn’t resemble any of the things it’s found in ironically. Don’t ask me how I know this — just presume that I’m becoming an old chemist. ;)
    The surprising thing to me is that 2-carene isn’t in mangos. Or at least in the listing you’ve got here.
    Toluene eh? Sounds like love to me! :)

  9. ryttu3k says:

    Toluene? Seriously? XD
    This post makes me hungry. I LOVE YOU, MANGOES.

  10. 6_bleen_7 says:

    Anyone else immediately think of the original Magic Markers in connection with toluene? Sure, modern permanent markers won’t give you cancer, but none will ever smell as good as Magic Markers used to.

Comments are closed.