Characterization of the key aroma compounds in soy sauce by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry-olfactometry, headspace-gas chromatography-ion mobility spectrometry, odor activity value, and aroma recombination and omission analysis

Food Chem. 2023 Sep 1:419:135995. doi: 10.1016/j.foodchem.2023.135995. Epub 2023 Mar 27.


Most previous studies on volatile compounds in soy sauce were performed by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS). In this study, the volatile compounds of high-salt liquid-state fermentation soy sauce (HLFSS) were analyzed qualitatively and quantitatively by GC-MS and headspace-gas chromatography-ion mobility spectrometry (HS-GC-IMS). One hundred and seventy-four substances were detected using the two instruments, 87 by HS-GC-IMS and 127 by GC-MS. Aldehydes (26), ketones (28), esters (29), and alcohols (26) were the main compounds in HLFSS. In addition, ethyl pyruvate, (E)-2-pentenal and diethyl propanedioate were detected by HS-GC-IMS, which were previously not detected in HLFSS. Forty-eight aromatics including 34 key ones were identified by gas chromatography-olfactometry. Phenylacetaldehyde, methional, 2-methylbutanal, 1-octen-3-ol, ethyl acetate, 2-ethyl-4-hydroxy-5-methyl-3(2H)-furanone, 4-hydroxy-2,5-dimethyl-3(2H)-furanone and 4-ethyl guaiacol were identified as the main aroma compounds in HLFSS by aroma recombination and omission test. This study laid foundation for developing flavor assessment standards for soy sauce.

Keywords: GC-O; GC–MS; HS-GC-IMS; Sensory; Soy Sauce; Volatile Compounds.

MeSH terms

  • Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry / methods
  • Ion Mobility Spectrometry
  • Odorants / analysis
  • Olfactometry / methods
  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary
  • Soy Foods* / analysis
  • Volatile Organic Compounds* / analysis


  • Sodium Chloride
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary
  • Volatile Organic Compounds