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6 January 2014

978 3 90639 036 9
Wiley VCH
GBP 42.58

Perspectives in Flavor and Fragrance Research

Philip Kraft and Karl A.D. Swift (eds)

This book is a selected compilation of presentations given during the 2004 International Meeting for Flavor and Fragrance held in Manchester. It includes 18 out of 24 presentations, and aims to promote flavour and fragrance field as an innovative and engaging area of science, and to encompass a wider scientific community. The organic chemistry behind the flavours and fragrances can initially seem a little daunting, but is discussed in detail, and this volume is accessible to anyone with an interest in the field.

Flavours and fragrances affect everyone on a daily basis, from the smell of freshly brewed coffee in the morning to the minty taste of toothpaste as we brush our teeth before bed. Without conscious effort, we are all perceiving different flavours and fragrances regularly, and this book is a collection of the fascinating ways in which the research is developing. The editors state that the book is directed primarily towards individuals who are already part of flavour and fragrance research, but, as an individual new to the field, I found each chapter highly accessible and clearly written. Each chapter opens with a precise and informative abstract, and follows with a detailed introduction to the section of research. The majority of the data presented in each chapter is heavily aimed at the chemists among the readers, but the schemes and diagrams can be followed easily by anyone with a basic background in organic chemistry. My only criticism is the scant conclusions at the end of chapters, and the lack of chapter summaries. The reader can be overwhelmed by the level of detail in the introduction, or by following the biosynthesis routes for the production of a compound; from an audience perspective, it would be nice to summarize these in bullet points, and/or to expand on them in the conclusions.

The first chapter of the book, Molecular and Cellular Basis of Human Olfaction, is a good place to start for the reader, giving not only the biological insight into how flavours and fragrance are detected, but also a historical sketch of the research. As with the other chapters, this is not just a presentation of data, or the biosynthesis of an aromatic compound of interest; each chapter carefully details the wider relevance of the molecule. The first chapter details the search for ligands for a specific receptor (hOR17-4 receptor) which emerged from a genome search of olfactory genes, and describes its function in human sperm (where it is expressed). Similarly, a later chapter details the difference between the volatile compounds of spotted shrimp before and after cooking; the odour evaluation of each of the compounds reveals the distinct differences that lead to the appealing aroma of cooked shrimp. The range of topics covered in this volume, from identifying compounds in vanishing flora, odour and biodiversity to designing new fragrances for the industry and the components in human sweat, is very interesting and engaging, providing an opportunity to learn about different topics of flavours and fragrance research.

In summary, this book provides an excellent survey of flavours and fragrance, with something for everybody to enjoy. Possibly a little out-of-date now, it is still an interesting volume for those who wish to explore a new field. An expert will appreciate and value it just as much as the novice.


Rebecca Roberts (Sheffield)



 
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