Aroma components responsible for aroma typical of British Farmhouse Cheddar cheese were studied by aroma extract dilution analysis. Cheese extracts were prepared by direct solvent extraction, high-vacuum transfer, and class fractionation. Most aroma-active components of acidic and neutral/basic fractions have been previously associated with Cheddar cheese flavor. p-Cresol was mainly responsible for a "cowy-barny" note, whereas an intense "soil-like" note was due to 2-isopropyl-3-methoxypyrazine. At much lower odor intensity, 2-isobutyl-3-methoxypyrazine contributed a "bell pepper-like" note. Additionally, within the same wedge of cheese, the concentrations of p-cresol and 2-isopropyl-3-methoxypyrazine were lower at the narrow end (center) than at the rind side. Direct addition of p-cresol (> or =100 ppb) or 2-isopropyl-3-methoxypyrazine (> or =3 ppb) in a mild domestic Cheddar cheese resulted in increases in intensities of cowy/phenolic and earthy/bell pepper aroma notes.
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