Characterization of Geosmin as Source of Earthy Odor in Different Aroma Type Chinese Liquors
Earthy odor is one of the most frequent and serious causes for the aroma deterioration in Chinese liquor, which causes a dirty and dusty impression. The odor in Chinese liquor is similar to that of rice husk, one kind of auxiliary material widely used as a filler in the distillation process. So it is experientially hypothesized that such odor may derive from rice husk. In this paper, the gas chromatography?olfactometry (GC?O) technique and gas chromatography?mass spectrometry (GC?MS) were used to discover and identify the characteristic odoriferous zone of Chinese liquor marked by earthy odor. Geosmin was found to be responsible for this odor. The levels of the compound in ten bottled liquors and thirty liquors aging for different years belonging to four different aroma types were determined by the optimized headspace?solid phase microextraction?gas chromatography?mass spectrometry (HS?SPME?GC?MS) method. Quantitative analysis of bottled liquor revealed the presence of geosmin in all aroma type liquors with concentrations ranging from 1.10 ?g/L to 9.90 ?g/L, except for strong-aroma type liquor. Meanwhile in the aged liquors belonging to the same aroma type, geosmin was detected with significant concentrations and high odor activity values (OAVs) during different years of aging. However, geosmin was not detected in steamed rice husk nor in nonsteamed rice husk, which suggests that rice husk is not the origin of earthy odor in Chinese liquor, and there may be another origin of it during the brewing process.