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The search for new natural flavour and fragrance materials


During the last few years exotic methods have been applied for the search of new natural flavour and fragrance materials. Givaudan developed new flavours by the exploration of fruits from the depth of the Gabonese rainforest. IFF produced some alternatives to the hybrid rose plant growing under microgravity by sending plantmaterials into space. Quest announced the results of open-air and under water headspace sampling in Madagascar. Finally IFF recently broke the ground for a new greenhouse for the hydroponically (water-cultivated) grow of fruits and flowers for new flavours and fragrances.


In February/March 1999 Givaudan Roure carried out an innovative experimental program to discover new tastes, new molecules and new ingredients. A mission took their co-workers deep into the Gabonese rainforest to a place called Foret d'Abeille; one of the last unspoiled forests in Central Africa. In close co-operation with ProNatura, a well-known non-profit rainforest preservation group, they accomplished a highly challenging expedition. Together with botanists and entomologists, Givaudan research teams from the United States and Switzerland explored the incredible biodiversity, foraging on foot and hovering above the treetops on the world's largest hot air balloon.

Altogether more than 250 samples were collected and evaluated. The following new fruit flavours were developed: Ginger Strawberry from Aframomum giganteum, Mangolino from Dacryodes klaineana, Gabonese Pineapple from Diospyros mannii, Rainforest Melon from a Drypetes species, Wild Garcinia from Garcinia epunctata, Bush Pearl from Irvingia gabonensis, Jungle Fruit from Landolphia owariensis and Paradise Fruit from Pentadesma butyracca.

In 1998 IFF sent for the first time a miniature rose into space to produce three alternatives to the hybrid rose plant under the influence of microgravity. A new rose fragrance was developed. IFF is pursuing now a possible second NASA mission in which the company would send new flowers into space in 2002. This work may explore new perfumery molecules.

Quest International in conjunction with Oxford University and the Ecole Superieur du Science Agronomique (Paris), has announced the results of open-air and underwater headspace sampling in Madagascar. The goal was to find new scent molecules, which could be created in vitro later on. Samples were taken from waterfalls, aquatic plants, forest mosses, tropical flowers, uncatalogued species of resinous plants and native woods and barks. New mono- and sesquiterpenoids were discovered. The company believes that new fragrance profiles will spur new fragrance trends.

Recently IFF in the USA has prepared the ground for a new hydroponic greenhouse to complement an existing greenhouse facility. The hydroponics technique concerns the growing of plants in water with essential chemicals in solution, instead of in soil.The new facility will be used for the extraction of fruit and flower aromas from hydroponically grown plants. The addition will feature climate controls for each section, including underground heat. IFF states that there is a high interest in this method of growing plants to discover innovative natural products that will enhance the quality of life of consumers all over the world.

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Copyright © 2001 Boelens Aroma Chemical Information Service (BACIS), The Netherlands

Reprinted by Leffingwell & Associates, 2006, with Permission