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Chemical markers for bitterness in wheat bread


  • This article is published in Flavour and Fragrance Journal as Part II of Special Issue: 13th Weurman Flavour Research Symposium, Zaragoza, Spain, 27th – 30th September 2011, edited by Vicente Ferreira (University of Zaragoza).

Devin G. Peterson, Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota, 1334 Eckles Avenue, St Paul, MN 55108, USA. E-mail:


The manufacture of high-quality whole-grain products is challenged by poor flavour attributes, such as excessive bitterness. In a recent study our group characterized eight compounds that contributed to the bitterness of a whole-wheat bread sample. The goal of this study was to investigate the chemical profile of these bitter compounds in relation to the perceived bitterness of four commercial whole wheat breads and one refined wheat bread. Highly significant correlations (α = 0.01) were observed between the perceived bitterness in the crust and the quantity of 5-(hydroxymethyl)furfural (r2 = 0.93) and 2,3-dihydro-3,5-dihydroxy-6-methyl-4(H)-pyran-4-one (r2 = 0.95). In the crumb, the bitterness was correlated with the amount of l-tryptophan (r2 = 0.91). In summary, both Maillard- and fermentation-derived compounds were identified as potential chemical markers to predict bitterness of whole-wheat bread. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.