Some yeast strains belonging to the species Zygosaccharomyces rouxii and Debaryomyces hansenii are capable of spoiling sorbate containing high-sugar foods by producing pentadiene, a volatile compound reported to have 'petroleum-like' odour. Quantification of the diminution of sorbate and the subsequent increase of pentadiene was performed by growing the yeasts in experimental media containing 600 g/l sucrose and different sorbate concentrations. Final sorbate concentrations were notably lower than their corresponding initial ones, and it was found that the higher the initial concentration of sorbate in the media, the higher the amount of pentadiene produced. In all cases, Z. rouxii was able to produce more pentadiene than D. hansenii when expressing pentadiene concentration as a function of cell biomass. These results suggest that pentadiene is a metabolite of sorbate.