Palm wine and pasteurised palm sap volatiles were collected, concentrated on a Tenax GC and analysed by gas chromatography and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry. Eighty-two components were identified: 47 esters, 9 alcohols, 5 acids, 6 carbonyls, 2 acetals, 4 terpenes and 9 hydrocarbons. These had all been found previously in conventional wines. Odour evaluation of the separated palm wine components as they eluted suggested that no one compound is responsible for the characteristic palm wine odour. The acetates of higher alcohols and the ethyl esters of straight-chain aliphatic C6-C10 acids seemed to be important and may play a big role in imparting the fruity nuances of characteristic palm wine odour. Their association with alcohols seemed also to be necessary for the expression of typical palm wine odour. The qualitative difference between palm sap aroma and palm wine aroma appeared to be due mainly to the presence of these esters and alcohols in palm wine and their apparent absence from palm sap, as well as to the presence of some low-boiling esters and alcohols in palm sap and their apparent absence from palm wine.
Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture 04/1994; 64(4):405 – 411. DOI:10.1002/jsfa.2740640403