Comprehensive SPME-GC-MS Analysis of VOC Profiles Obtained Following High-Temperature Heating of Pork Back Fat with Varying Boar Taint Intensities

Clément Burgeon, Alice Markey, Marc Debliquy, Driss Lahem, Justine Rodriguez, Ahmadou Ly, Marie-Laure Fauconnier


Boar taint detection is a major concern for the pork industry. Currently, this taint is mainly detected through a sensory evaluation. However, little is known about the entire volatile organic compounds (VOCs) profile perceived by the assessor. Additionally, many research groups are working on the development of new rapid and reliable detection methods, which include the VOCs sensor-based methods. The latter are susceptible to sensor poisoning by interfering molecules produced during high-temperature heating of fat. Analyzing the VOC profiles obtained by solid phase microextraction gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (SPME-GC-MS) after incubation at 150 and 180 °C helps in the comprehension of the environment in which boar taint is perceived. Many similarities were observed between these temperatures; both profiles were rich in carboxylic acids and aldehydes. Through a principal component analysis (PCA) and analyses of variance (ANOVAs), differences were highlighted. Aldehydes such as (E,E)-nona-2,4-dienal exhibited higher concentrations at 150 °C, while heating at 180 °C resulted in significantly higher concentrations in fatty acids, several amide derivatives, and squalene. These differences stress the need for standardized parameters for sensory evaluation. Lastly, skatole and androstenone, the main compounds involved in boar taint, were perceived in the headspace at these temperatures but remained low (below 1 ppm). Higher temperature should be investigated to increase headspace concentrations provided that rigorous analyses of total VOC profiles are performed.

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