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Introduction to Pyrroles

Besides pyrazines, thiazoles, furans and thiophenes---pyroles are among the most widespread heterocyclic compounds in food flavors with about 50 identified. Just as in the case of the formation of some pyrazines, recent studies suggest pyrroles arise mainly via Maillard or Strecker reactions between sugars and amino acids during heat processing. Pyrroles are also found naturally in foods, such as nuts. Pyrroles are not as potent as some of the others, that is, their odor threshold is relatively higher; for example, for 2-acetylpyrrole, the value is in the order of 50 ppm.

Thus far, federal and industry efforts have been slow to secure GRAS status for pyrroles, and only a few have been recognized. There are only 6 pyrroles, which Pyrazine Specialties presently offers, to enhance the library and scope of flavorists in their work.

An informative review on pyrroles is in the Chemistry of Heterocyclic Compounds in Flavours and Aromas by G. Vernin, 1982, John Wiley & Sons, New York.
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