This paper summarizes the most commonly used methods to identify the origins of taste and odor episodes. An innovative analytical tool which allows the identification of odorous compounds at levels as low as 25 pg/L by injecting a large volume of extracts, is described. This large volume on-column technique was employed to investigate real “earthy-musty” cases which remained unsolved using traditional chromatographic methods. “Musty” odor causative agents could be identified in each sample studied, proving the efficiency of this new method. Estimated concentrations were well correlated with taste intensities. The relative importance of haloanisoles when dealing with musty odors was highlighted, and 2,4,6-tribromoanisole was detected for the first time in water samples. Finally, analysis of the corresponding halophenols for some of the samples studied gave insights concerning the origin of the odorous anisoles.

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