ABSTRACT: Generally the main component of fishy flavor is considered to be trimethylamine. On the other hand, carbonyl compounds, produced from oxidation of polyunsaturated fatty acid by lipoxygenase or by autoxidation, might have some contribution to the fishy flavor. Since sardine skin contains high levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids and lipoxygenase, carbonyl compounds may be generated more easily than trimethylamine. In this study, volatile flavor compounds of sardine were analyzed by gas chromatograph-mass spectrometry and gas chromatograph-olfactometry combined with solid phase microextraction. Then, the flavor components that contribute to fishy flavor were identified. At normal pH (6.2), trimethylamine was not detected or sensed from the fresh sardines. When the pH was raised, the amount of trimethylamine became higher. Trimethylamine flavor was weak at pH 9 and strongly sensed at pH 11 or higher. On the other hand, 33 other compounds were positively or tentatively identified, including 8 hydrocarbons, 5 ketones, 1 furan, 1 sulfur compound, 12 aldehydes, and 6 alcohols in fresh sardines. Among them, 2,3-pentanedione, hexanal, and 1-penten-3-ol were the main components. Forty-seven flavors were detected by gas chromatograph-olfactometry. Among them, paint-like (1-penten-3-one), caramel-like (2,3-pentanedione), green-like (hexanal), shore-like ((Z)-4-heptenal), citrus note (octanal), mushroom-like (1-octen-3-one), potato-like (methional), insect-like ((E,Z)-2,6-nonadienal), and bloody note (not identified) were strongly sensed. From the aforementioned results, it can be concluded that these compounds rather than trimethylamine contributed to fresh sardine flavor.