Standard Article


  1. Jean-Paul Vidal

Published Online: 19 MAY 2006

DOI: 10.1002/0471238961.2201140905191615.a01.pub2

Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology

Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology

How to Cite

Vidal, J.-P. 2006. Vanillin. Kirk-Othmer Encyclopedia of Chemical Technology. .

Author Information

  1. Rhodia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 19 MAY 2006


Vanillin (3-methoxy-4-hydroxy-benzaldehyde) is found as a natural product, glucovanillin, in green vanilla beans in the form of its β-d-glucoside. The extract, as such, has an inconsistent quality and price and its use has given way to production of synthetic vanillin, derived from catechol. It can also be obtained from lignin in sulfite wastes treated with alkali, and from guaiacol, where its impurities, by comparison, are odorless.

Physical properties, solubility data, and data about particle-size distribution, taste and flavor, and available grades of Rhovanil Extra Pure vanillin of Rhodia are given. Chemical reactions, such as decomposition, are discussed.

Uses as a flavor enhancer in numerous food products, and as a key part of flavor compounding are mentioned. The four principal notes in flavor perception are classified to show the role played by vanillin in flavor compounding. Uses in baking, chocolate, vanillin sugar, and as a palatability enhancer in animal feed are discussed.

Use in perfumery of a vanilla-like product is examined, with its important role in the field of aroma description. Many vanillin uses in perfumery are touched on, as are some in flavor-masking, pharmaceuticals, agrochemical products, and in antiultraviolet protection. Analysis and determination techniques are discussed. Vanillin in the diet shows no significant health or carcinogenic risk to humans.


  • vanillin;
  • vanilla beans;
  • guaiacol;
  • glyoxylic acid;
  • waste sulfite liquors;
  • grades;
  • food flavors;
  • chocolate;
  • confections;
  • animal feeds;
  • cosmetics;
  • perfumes;
  • pharmaceuticals;
  • herbicides