Why Does Strawberry Jam Have a Strong Sweet Aroma?

🍓The sweet aroma of strawberry is composed of many volatiles, but furaneol is the most important one because of its high level (up to 55 mg/kg of fruit fresh weight) and low odor threshold (10 ppb). It is also called strawberry furanone because it is abundant in strawberries, but it is also found in a variety of fruits such as pineapple, raspberry and mango🍍🍅🥭.

The biosynthetic pathway of strawberry furanone is shown below and the aromatic component increases as the fruit ripens. 4-Hydroxy-5-methyl-2-methylene-3(2H)-furanone (HMMF) is formed from D-fructose-1,6-diphosphate as a starting material. Reduction of the double bond in HMMF yields strawberry furanone. The quinone oxidoreductase Fragaria×ananassaquinone oxidoreductase (FaQR) has been shown to be involved in the biosynthesis of strawberry furanone as an enone oxidoreductase. Expression of the FaQR gene in strawberry was found to be low during the fruit growth stage but increased continuously throughout the fruit maturation stage. This is why ripe strawberries smell so good.

🍳🥩🍞Strawberry furanone was first reported as a product of the Maillard reaction. Maillard reaction is a reaction that produces brown substances and volatiles when reducing sugars and amino acids (including peptides and proteins) are heated. For example, when you grill meat🍖 or bake bread🥨, this phenomenon occurs. It is curious that the aroma of strawberry is produced when meat is grilled. However, the reaction pathway is thought to be different from that of strawberries.

🍓Strawberry furanone was also detected in high amounts in strawberry jam. Since jam is made by adding sugar and heating, strawberry furanone may also be produced by the Maillard reaction and may play an important role in accentuating the sweet smell of strawberry jam.

📖Reference 

1. T. Raab, et al. ”FaQR, Required for the Biosynthesis of the Strawberry Flavor Compound 4-Hydroxy-2,5-Dimethyl-3(2H)-Furanone, Encodesan Enone Oxidoreductase” The Plant Cell, 2006, 18, 1023.

2. W. Schwab, et al. “Structural Basis for the Enzymatic Formation of the Key Strawberry Flavor Compound 4-Hydroxy-2,5-dimethyl-3(2H)-furanone” J. Biol. Chem. 2013, 288, 16815.

3. T. Ito, S. Odagiri, et al. “Sweet Aroma Components in Three Kinds of Jam” Nippon Nogeikagaku Kaishi, 1982, 56, 101.

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