• aroma-impact compounds;
  • fish sauce;
  • gas chromatography olfactometry;
  • Osme;
  • Stevens' Power Law exponents

ABSTRACT:  The objectives of this study were to characterize volatile compounds and to determine the characteristic aromas associated with impact compounds in 4 fish sauces using solid-phase micro-extraction, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, Osme, and gas chromatography olfactometry (SPME-Osme-GCO) coupled with Stevens' Power Law. Compounds were separated using GCMS and GCO and were identified with the mass spectral database, aroma perceived at the sniffing port, retention indices, and verification of compounds by authentic standards in the GCMS and GCO. Aromas that were isolated and present in all 4 fish sauce samples at all concentrations included fishy (trimethylamine), pungent and dirty socks (combination of butanoic, pentanoic, hexanoic, and heptanoic acids), cooked rice and buttery popcorn (2,6-dimethyl pyrazine), and sweet and cotton candy (benzaldehyde). All fish sauces contained the same aromas as determined by GCO and GCMS (verified using authentic standard compounds), but the odor intensity associated with each compound or group of compounds was variable for different fish sauce samples. Stevens' Power Law exponents were also determined using this analytical technique, but exponents were not consistent for the same compounds that were found in all fish sauces. Stevens' Power Law exponents ranged from 0.14 to 0.37, 0.24 to 0.34, 0.09 to 0.21, and 0.10 to 0.35 for dirty socks, fishy, buttery popcorn, and sweet aromas, respectively. This demonstrates that there is variability in Stevens' Power Law exponents for odorants within fish sauce samples.