Abstract: Goat milk fat includes several branched chain fatty acids (BCFAs), like 4-methyloctanoic acid, which when free, are responsible for goaty flavor. This flavor limits the market opportunities for goat milk. Prior research showed that cyclodextrins (CDs) can reduce goaty flavor, presumably by binding free fatty acids. This research extends that observation. In odor ranking trials in citrate buffer at pH 4.8, β-CD concentrations between 0% and 0.35% were increasingly effective in reducing odor intensity due to 4-methyloctanoic acid, but only when present in high molar excess. α-CD was also effective, but γ-CD was not. In lipase-treated goat milk only β-CD was effective but at much lower molar excess, a difference potentially explained by several factors. One was that BCFAs bind to CDs in marked preference to their straight chain isomers. Displacement experiments with phenolphthalein disproved that hypothesis. The ability of β-CD to reduce goaty flavor intensity extended to yogurt. An analytical panel showed that flavor of goat yogurt was reduced by addition of β-CD, but only if added before heating and fermentation. A hedonic trial showed that consumers preferred unsweetened and sweet/vanilla-flavored goat yogurt more when β-CD was included, P= 0.004 and 0.016, respectively. Males liked all yogurts more than females (P < 0.01), but there was a treatment × gender interaction (P= 0.016) for sweet/vanilla yogurt: sweet/vanilla masked the goaty flavor for males but not females. This results parallels previously demonstrated gender effects for sheepmeat flavor caused by BCFAs.
Practical Application: β-Cyclodextrin masks goaty flavor in yogurt, and with its GRAS status means it could be used in commercial goat yogurts and similar products so the real or perceived nutritional advantages of goat milk are not lost to goaty flavor.